As we were reviewing about the different theorists today i found myself rethinking about Goffman and how stigmas are such a relevant part of our society today and how it differs from place to place. A stigma in lamest terms in the idea of labeling someone based on a trait and ultimately putting them down. Obviously, this is common everywhere from school to any other institutions we can think of. I personally have been in new york all my life so i beleive that stigmas are less likely in the big populated cities because people try so hard to break free from them. For example, in the city you can literally find a very well dressed person and think there this big shot buisness man but then there actually like artists or musicians or you can have a woman in drabby boring loose clothes thats like a police detective. I think the reason for this is in big cities people use fashion as ways of disidentifers. This connects to Simmel’s duality of fashion as it can help in the individuals trying to distingush themselves from others but at the same time try to fit in. At the end of the day i think stigmas are inevitable and its something we really cant escape no matter how we change our appearences or characteristics.
Although, I missed class the day we spoke about Merton, I read through the reading and the slides and I found Merton’s concept of deviance and anomie very interesting. A lot of people study why people commit crime and wonder why people especially the young do what they do but Merton believes that its our social structures that forces us into these difficult places such as the government, our religion, the government. These things make up a major part of our lives so its obvious that the tension/ pressure we feel from there is a result of what happens later. Also, I think one of the most commoon preconception we have is that crime is commited mostly by the poor because they are jealous of others and want better for themselves but do not have the means to get them the hard way. But what Merton tries to explain is that a rich person is just as susceptible to crime and anomie because it is culture based and depends on our individual moral and values. For example, if there is a person who isn’t that financially stable but works long hard hours, only to make ends meet, it doesn’t mean he is going to go rob a bank because he wants to provide for his family and he has “good morals” which Merton described as a conformist or a ritualist. On the other hand, there could be a rich guy that has a huge mansion and owner of a big company that robs a bank instead because he wants more and he will do anything to get more even if it means hurting people which can be described as innovation. The other group he spoke of was the people that retreat and withdraw completely from society because the pressure is too much for them, such as outcasts and loners. The final and most talked aobut group of course is the rebbellers. This is the group that Merton sees as the “rising class” in which they want to change all the society’s norms for the greater cause and make something revolutionary happen which made me think of the protests that are happening all across the worl for allldiffernet purposes whether it be for the rights of women or freedom for a specifc race/religion and the measures that they are taking which might seem crazy and deviant and bad to some but just acts of justice to others. Finally, Merton makes the point that deviance and anomie is not cause by just one thing but a number of things which is Merton describes as the need to do well financially mixed in with the constraints and limits to opprtunites that force us onto this not so good place. In my opinion, Merton makes many good points but I think one thing that’s important to remember is that people have different values/ goals and they change according to things like where you live. For example going back to Durkheim a little, it matters where you live for example we talked about how in big cities people are more likely to be deviant or “rebellers” as opposed to in a small town where most people are conformists or ritulaists. But as Merton says, there are a lot of factors to take into account when discussing deviance and anomie.
When most people think of fashion they don’t directly associate it with sociology because they are merely trends that fade in and out of our lives and in history. Even though Simmel though of fashion as relevant in social life. Many years ago, his idea that it plays as a role of conformity and well as distinction is in my opinion more prevalent today than ever before. Simmel first goes onto explain fashion in terms of conformity, or as I like it call it, “a way in”. Simmel also explained fashion in terms of distinction or when you don’t want to fit in but stand out in the crowd so all eyes are on you. This concept reminded me of a popular tv show called Gossip Girl, where there was a catholic school in the upper east side occupied with mostly rich preppy kids and they all had to wear uniforms. Seeing as though, they had no choice but to conform, a number of the kids made themselves distinct in little but obvious ways through fashion. For instance, one student would wear her uniform with a expensive chanel bag while another student would tie her tie differently, another student may wear high bright colored stockings, and of course expensive jewelery and shoes, hair and makeup were essentials. In this show, these little things associate themselves with their class. In the clip that I atttatched, you can see a clear distinction from the rich girls of the upper east side the middle class boy from Brooklyn.
Whereas, in the video we watched in class some of the fashion trends that people participate in, such as couples wearing matching underwear is a way for them to get closer and developer a deeper relationship. So ultimately, fashion has become such a major part of our daily life whether it be getting people together or creating disparities, that it makes you wonder if the world would be a better place if this idea of fashion didn’t exist.
After our last class session on crime, I feel a bit conflicted. Durkheim’s idea is based on the premise that crime is not only necessary but also essential for any healthy society to function. Durkheim goes on to say that crime is present to let us know what is morally “good” and “bad” and lets us see that there are rules and if are broke, there will be consequences which he compared to children’s play. I agree with Durkheim that this idea of crime is essential or else our society would lack social order. Furthermore, in class we also discussed how different countries and cultures share different beliefs and norms therefore what may be “good” in our culture for example making eye contact to someone when you’re talking to them, may be completely “bad” or disrespectful somewhere else like some Asian and middle eastern countries. That being said, I think that in today’s society, crime can send us some mixed signals as to what’s “good” and “bad”. For example, for my education class I was asked to watch 4 children’s programs and take note of the violent or aggressive situations in each. One of the shows I chose was Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles on Nickelodeon and I found that these ninja turtle (good guys) are ultimately out to protect people from evil monsters and etc. (bad guys) but they go about doing this by beating the monsters with a stick, punching, kicking and a number of other violent activities. Obviously we know they are doing this to help rid the world of the bad but isn’t what they’re doing bad too. If the bad guys get hit and thrown in jail why shouldn’t the turtles get the same for in fact, they are breaking rules too, right? To us, it’s clear that the bad guys deserved it and the ninja turtles are heroes but for young minds these can be confusing. Are we sending the message that bad is bad and good is fighting the bad? What if a child carries this mentality into the teen years and decides to punch someone because it’s good when they only look like the bad person? I wonder what Durkheim would say about this and crime in today’s society.
After watching on the videos “Land of the Free, Home of the Poor,” and “Wealth Inequality in America” I believe that the division of wealth in the United States has divided us into two separate countries, one living off the other. The truth is the classes of people from poor to middle to wealthy have been in complete disarray. The poor and the middle class have conglomerated to form one big class versus the wealthy class that makes up but 1 percent of the country. The first video brought about the point that this nation’s division of wealth is so large scale that we are being compared to other countries like China and Africa who have been known to have a class system that is not fair. The video also emphasizes how things like foreclosure and unemployment is the result and no matter if you are a college grad or working at McDonald’s, you are going to feel the same struggle just some more than others. The second video used a physical chart to emphasize the problem of wealth in a smaller scale. At the end of the day, as one of the speakers in the video said, the American dream has become unattainable for regular people like you and me. After watching these two videos I came to realize that along with myself there are hundreds of Americans out there that are still under the impression that the wealth in this country is divided somewhat equally. When in fact, socialism is dead and replaced by capitalism and by the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like it will ever be a part of our society again.