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Society Is an External Force Essay

Thomas Hobbes argued that without strictly enforced rules, the degree of competitiveness between people was such that they would constantly be locked in a relentless and chaotic struggle against one another. He also argued that the people are rational, therefore they would recognize the need for strong government in order to restrain their selfish desires and evade turmoil in society. This is further supported by Durkheim when he stated, some ways must be found to bind the unsatisfied desire. However, Durkheim suggested that it is the society not the rational individuals that acts to limit our desires through establishing a set of moral values that the individual learns to accept as the proper manner of behaving in connection with each other. The individuals will not only accept theses moral standards but also internalizes them.

This can be seen in Saudi Arabia whereby the restrictions on women are fully abide by the ladies in that country and defying the restriction may lead to imprisonment. For instance, women are forbidden to drive. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women from driving. The ban is in place to limit contact with men who are not members of the immediate family. As such, this shows that the society plays a big role in the internalization of roles and shapes the behavior of the individuals itself. Conversely, Dennis Wrong believes that the inability of this view to evaluate the emotional or effective aspect of people’s life will lead to oversocialization. The individual become overburdened by the weight of role prescriptions and may trigger reaction such as rebellion.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual (LGBT) movement can be seen a case preference. The LGBT movement rejected the concept of imago dei because it was seen as a restrictive, overtly religious concept that depends on authoritative revelation. Conservative Jews, Christians, and Muslims all view homosexuality as against the commands of God.Going against the nature of their sex, these people create associations and conducted riots demanding for equal right to be given such as allowing gay marriage. Hence, the functionalist view on society is determining human behavior cannot be wholly be acknowledged as it cannot explain sudden changes in the society such as the emergence of LGBT society.

Capitalists realised that the spread of education could not be stopped, but that it could be used as a counter-revolutionary enterprise. Therefore, they provide education to the working class but control the content of the education. This approach was an attempt to win hearts and minds and reconcile the working class to the existing status quo. Nevertheless, from Marxist point of view, the approach is seen as ‘hidden curriculum’. By this, is meant the unacknowledged results and intentions of schooling which the Marxists believe it was a form of hegemony, making the working class feels as if they are appreciated and acknowledged by the capitalist ( State ) though the hidden agenda is to make sure that they would not achieve class consciousness and rebel. The initial influence in this area was the work of Bowles and Gintis .

Their analysis of the USA educational system led them to believe that the hierarchies, values, norms and skills of the workplace are mirrored in the social dynamics of the classroom. In this view, schooling functions as a producer of students with a docile and receptive attitude towards the social and economic imperatives of capitalist societies. Similarly, Althusser came up with Ideological States Apparatus theory saying that school is only a medium of ensuring the working class stays where they are and do what they do. He also argues that capitalist societies are incapable of sustaining educational systems that promote equality. He said that individuals are accorded a place in the economic system in accord with the amount of schooling they receive, the type of schooling, and with regard to the specific moral and social attitudes they have developed towards work and social control.

This hence shows that Marxist view that the society does constrain our behavior is correct seen through the research of Bowles and Gintis. However, as the interactionists focus on the micro theory, they argue that it is not the society that shape human behavior but rather the negotiation of people in interpreting a complex set of symbols in the daily basis as a part of mutual communication is the one that determine one’s attitude. Paul Willis in 1977 conducted a study on ‘lads’ and ‘earoles’. From this study, he found that the ‘lads’ cannot cope up with their academics, found school unrewarding therefore act as they like in class. The ‘lads’ did not follow the norm of the society but behave according to their own meaning and understanding. From this we can conclude that the Marxist’s theory on the usage of ISA to shape the behavior of individuals cannot be entirely acceptable.


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