Gangs have always been a challenge to a states government. In Rio de Janeiro slums have always been dangerous because of the amount of the amount of gang members going around with guns, knives and many other weapons. There are many ways to understand these gangs; many believe that they do it for respect while others believe they do it because they have no other choice. In the movie “City of God” we can see the lives of many gang members that live in the slums. With many different sociologist perspectives we can comprehend various aspects of these gangs.
Symbolic interactionist, Conflict theorist and Feminism theory are all different sociological perspective that will be discussed in this essay. First of all, Rio de Janeiro is known for their dangerous slums. Many would automatically think violence when It comes around that neighbourhood. To begin with, Symbolic interactionist focus on the subjective aspect of the social life, they base their perspective on the image they have of humans rather than the image they have on the society. One of the key aspects of the perspective is; we are influenced by culture and social processes, such as social norms.
In the movie “City of God”, we can see that many people join the gangs because it has almost become part of their culture to be gang members. Symbolic interactionist would be interested in the way the gang grows very quickly. We can see in “City of god” or even in “News from personal war” that kids join the slums army at a really young age because of the amount of people that are part of it. Taking example on the Runts in the “City of God” movie, we can see that these young kids are mostly influenced by the older dealers fame and money.
I believe that symbolic interactionist would be interested in how the kids from the movie “News from the personal war” don’t see anything wrong in their violent acts. They believe that they are doing nothing but positive for their society. By bringing back medicine, food and clothes to the population they picture themselves as Hero’s and has great citizens. The society encourages them to continue with these violent and dangerous acts by praising them because of the things they give back to their people.
This is a major fact of the gangs growth in these low class countries. In this perspective there is also an important aspect that says; we act towards other based on the meaning that those other people have for us. For example, if we look at Knockout Ned’s murderer, he was just an innocent boy that was trying to get revenge for his father’s killer. Not knowing the consequences that this would have on his life he joined a gang to give honour to his father. Symbolic interactionists believe that our social structure is based by our social interactions with others.
In other words, symbolic interactions would believe that hood boys had reason and justifications to why they were part of a gang. The crew tremendous growth is because of the social structure that they have in Rio de Janeiro. Secondly, conflict theories would portray the situation in Rio de Janeiro completely differently. Conflict theorists believe that societies are composed of groups in power, status and influence. For example, in the film Lil Ze and his crew would be considered as the group in power, status and has influence on kid. In the movie, Lil Ze makes a rule of no hold ups or anything in the slums by runts.
This proves that Lil Ze has complete control on the community because he sets any rule that he desires, we can basically call him a president. Conflict theorist would also argue that the powerless are more prone to break the rules. We can take example on the Runts once again; they robe stores knowing that it is against the societies rules. In the film, Lil Ze seems to blame victims when he would commit violent crimes. He was convinced that people that break rules should pay for their actions. He found happiness in killing people for no absolute reason.
Most times, the neighbourhoods and societies are the subjects of study, the battle between rich and poor. Poor people seem to not be able to escape the streets of the city of God, the opportunities to get out of the slums are really slums. In the beginning of the movie you see homeless people walking on the streets and the narrator mentions that these people have nowhere to but to stay on the streets. It is really hard for the poor to avoid doing crimes because of their low level of education, money and opportunity. At last, Feminist theory is known to discuss the importance of gender inequality.
For the movie, I believe that the women are experience all the stereotypes we can imagine. In the movie we can see that women are completely used as object and are not respected. In the scene where Lil Ze rapes Knockout Ned’s girlfriend we can see that it is just because to show how he can get whatever he wants, whenever he wants from any women. He uses the girl as an object as if she wasn’t worth anything. This could be considered as gendercide in other words, he raped her as a war crime. The feminist theory also argues the fact that women are completely ignored in societies.
Looking at the “City of God” film, the scene where the two women are talking about their sex experience and one of them mentions how her husband would beat her for asking such things. This shows how women do not have their word to say about anything in the movies. That same women get beat and barried alive because of her unfaithfulness towards her husband but yet, police are more preoccupied into catching Shaggy. This shows us how important the women’s death is to people. Women are mistreated and ignored from society because they are considered to be housewives by stereotype.
To conclude, there are different ways of looking at the movie “City of God”, Symbolic interactionist can look at it has the subjective aspect of the social life, the look at people’s image instead of people image on society. However, Conflict theorist are interested in the people who basically run the streets, the people in power with status and influence. Finally, Feminism theorist are mostly interested in the gender inequality that we can see in societies. All these theories help us have different opinions of people who live in slums like the movie “City of God” and may bring to and understanding the people who actually live in them
Courtney from Study Moose
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