As social beings we enjoy being part of groups .It gives us a sense of commitment and support that ultimately enables us to create strong emotional bonds with one another. It’s vital to our mental health to become part of a group; it has been proven that individuals who are marry are less likely of committing anomic suicide than those who aren’t , states Durkheim. Groups affect individual’s perceptions a great deal to the point that they might discard their own opinions. Would you go along with the crowds’ opinion or would you stick to your guns? Believe it or not most of us would conform to the majority’s opinion. This phenomenon is visible in our contemporary society. We are able to identify this ideology in groups such as, political groups, family, friends, and relationships and even fashion trends. The reasons why we conformed to our group’s opinions are to feel accepted and liked. Another reason is because we believe that they posses more intelligence than us. Also, it’s difficult to see something that no one else does. Opposing to the groups opinion can cause tension and isolation from other group members. Isolation can lead to anomic suicide due to the lack of social integration. The groups expressed opinions can pressure us into agreeing with them and consequently distorting our true perception. Ash’s experiment of perception is based a line test that is conducted on a group of individuals, but only one is the real subject and the rest are just actors. The subject was told that he was going to be participating in a visual perception test. Social psychologist Solomon Asch experiment studies the level to which pressure from other members of a group could influence one’s perceptions. Checkout the results of this remarkable experiment in the video below!
There are different ways of how we go about our lives whether is to conform, to innovate, ritualism, to retreat or to rebel. When it comes to the work place we rarely rebel unless is something extremely bad and we really don’t retreat because of the bills we need to pay, even though people decide to do so in order to get all the public assistance they can; since it seems that thats the only way you can get any assistance in this country. People who have a full time job a make money do not get any of that. I was denied health insurance because I made “too much money” without them considering that I pay rent, utilities, food, school and everything else, but I rather work and provide for myself than just stay home and be a couch potato 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As workers we usually either conform, ritualize, or innovate throughout their career as a way to fulfill their goals and dreams. Some people conform and are ok with working a 9 to 5 job, renting an apartment and living day to day life. These conformists see it as “I have a job no matter how bad it is” or ” I have a place to live no matter how much i have to work to pay it”. Others are not happy with their positions in their workplace, not happy with what they have, so they innovate, they try to get what they want no matter who they have to hurt or use to get there, even if it’s illegal. These people turn to selling drugs, they take credit for other people’s work in order to get ahead, even kill people in order to obtain money.
There are also those people who are tired and bored of their job, but they stay because that job is what pays their rent and pays the bills, even if we know that the job wont get us nowhere. For example where I work, there are people who have been in the same position for over 25 years, yet they stay there because they know what is expected of them and what they have to do every day. Also they stay because that is what pays their rent and they feel that they can get away with certain things that they wont be able to if they started a new job.
we don’t have to conform or let our jobs become a ritual, or try to go up the corporate ladder by innovating. We can always find a way to get what we want even if it takes time. We can use our current employment and learn things that will help us find something better in the future, yes finding employment is difficult now-a-days, but the experience and knowledge we can always find something better.
This semester I am taking an interesting history class called Nazism, Fascism, and Stalinism. During one class, we watched the first half of a 1970 Italian political film called the Conformist. The film takes place during Fascist controlled Italy and centers on a man named Marcello and his obsession with trying to appear “normal”. He wants to get married and embarks on a quest to land a job with the fascist secret police. This all done in the name of “conforming” under the fascist regime during the 1930’s. Robert Merton’s Strain Theory perfectly illustrates Fascism within Germany and Italy.
Fascism requires mass mobilization and modernization. Every person within society becomes a cog within a machine, ultimately working towards advancing and promoting the nation. Fascism creates atomization, breaking down an individual’s social and family connections, where the Nation becomes the most important aspect of an individual’s life. Under Nazi occupied Germany, youths had to join Nazi youth organizations and political dissent was suppressed. The majority of Germans conformed within society. Merton believes that Conformity is the most common form of adaptation. Conformists ultimately accept the goals of society and strive to achieve them (in our case, we are talking about fascism under Germany and Italy). Although most people conformed because it is essentially the easiest thing to do, there were some forms of Rebellion, or non-conformity. Rebellion is an adaptation that occurs when the cultural goals of society are rejected. Within both Germany and Italy, there were secret and underground groups that rejected the ideals and goals of fascism. Interestingly enough, Merton’s concept of Retreatism could also be seen within both societies, especially within Nazi occupied Germany. In fear of being snitched on by a neighbor, or being overheard by a Nazi official incognito, many Germans retreated from society in fear for their lives. They went to work and their normal routines but avoided interaction and ultimately withdrew from society for fear of being accused as being disloyal to Nazi Germany and the Nation.