A Study of Society's Impact on an Individual's Outlook in Life

Categories: Society

Social change in the society involves a change in the communication patterns, attitudes, personal influence and contact with other societies, friendship, and generally a change in the social class. Social change is inevitable in the long, run even though there are many barriers to change. People tend to maintain social order as it is, even if the forces stimulating social order are stronger than the people’s wish to maintain the status quo.

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The possibility of social change is at the same time very minimal since people resist change in the short term.

This essay is an assessment of the depth of influence that the society has on individuals, the role of perception in maintaining the firmness of belief and the capacity of a culture for social change. It also offers both theoretical and practical explanation of what it would take to make a change in the society. The society has varying depths of influence on individuals who apparently are tuned to maintaining the status quo. Firstly, the society changes individual attitudes of its superiority by forcing the people who have doubt on its status to experience the way of life of other societies.

For instance, in the Brave New World story by Aldous Leonard Huxley, John the Savage and other dissidents are once in a while allowed to travel and compare the way of life of the communities outside to their own way of life. In the story, it is hoped that exposing the dissidents to an inferior and primitive society would eventually erase all the doubts that the people have for their society’s superiority.

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Even the society in the story is trying to implement social changes amongst its people; it causes more havoc to the dissidents who end up going against the will of the society to a greater extent. For example, John the Savage exercises his freedom of killing himself instead of being part of the society with no freedom (Huxley, 1932).

What transpires in the Brave New World story is not different from what takes place in our society. The society if made up of leaders who practice dictatorship even as they rule the society. Some society members who are aggressively concerned in the community’s social affairs are forced to go into exile with their families abroad so as to avoid chaos in their lives. This is very common in countries that are not yet politically stable where those who fight for democracy are regarded as political enemies. In the Brave New Story, those who fight for democracy is represented by John the Savage who opts to take away his life so that he does not belong to the society without freedom. In the pranks interview with Barry Alfonso and Boyd Rice, the society is made very uncomfortable when the persons break social norms. Although the pranks they are making are harmless to the society, the members of the society feel irritated by such unusual happenings in their community.

For instance, Barry Alfonso says in the interview that he once put a rubber chicken in the window, an action which made the management very unhappy. He remembers the mistreatment he encountered after making the prank. He also narrates to have committed the crime of possessing a piece of merchandise and moving it to different parts of the store. According to the society, he had violated the laws of propriety which was to some level a threat to them (Alfonso and Rice 1987). It is evident from the prank interview that the society has a set of norms that it follows from time to time. Pranks may seem funny but in the real sense, they violate the rules of the society. They may even cause harm to the society members. In the contemporary society, pranks are made in televisions as part of normal programs in the television stations. Viewers are always amazed at how those who are tricked get terrified by such pranks. It can thus be concluded that society norms are important in regulating everyday activities in the society.

Perception on a given issue may be significant in maintaining the firmness of a belief. Firstly, perception helps in understanding the structure of a particular society as a whole. Having a perception of something involves understanding the essential components of a society and the relations of the components to each other. In any given society, beliefs are related to the structure of the society and its components. Having a perception of an issue regarding the structure of the society is therefore, useful in understanding the whole concept in connection to the structure of the society. Once we have faith in the structure of the society, there is no doubt that our belief will be maintained. Perception is therefore a determinant of the extent of our beliefs. On the contrary, having a negative perception of the structure of the society weakens our beliefs about the concept relating to the community structure.

Our progress is therefore hindered due to lack of faith in the society’s structure (Newman, 2015). Perception helps in understanding human history and the mechanics by which it is changing. Perception enables individuals to keenly analyze their view on the place of the society within the development of humanity and its meaning as a whole. It is, therefore vital in maintaining firmness in belief since belief is connected to the history of human beings. It is what we know about the past events and their consequences that determine our beliefs in the society. Perception also views the mechanism by which the history of humans is changing. On that note, it is useful in determining the fate of our belief in the future as it is in the trend of the humans’ history. A perception about consistency in production levels leads to an increase in production through hard work and togetherness. It is the positive perception that motivates society members; hence leading to firmness in the belief. Human beings work according to a given perception hence they do not work under pressure (Bell, McGrane and Underson, 2014).

Perception is important in maintaining a firm belief on the variations of many factors in the society. It is perceived that such variations come with different periods in the calendar of the year. Society members get to follow and understand the variations in seasons due to the perception of the variation of weather elements. It is through the perception that the belief on which varieties is coming to prevail is also maintained. Our perception allows us to understand the human nature and every feature of the society in which we exist. The society’s laws are real since people agree they are, but in the real sense, they do not exist. They are made up by the same people who follow them. The laws would be hard to break if they were real. In assessing the capacity of a culture for social change, it is important that the five features of reality are considered since the society is made up of reality. Given the reflexive feature of reality in the society, it is very hard to change the mindset of the people on some issues.

The people have strong belief on some issues that bringing in a different opinion about what is known would not influence the people’s decision. The reflexive feature of reality makes the society members to believe in what they had known from the past despite changes in the society (Mehan and Wood, 2011). The society may have the capacity to experience social change when the people interact with other members of different communities thereby changing their beliefs about some things. The coherence feature of reality may influence the society to change its social norms due to interactions with other people. The society may also be exposed to social change when the rules are implicit. The fragility in the rules allows for social change since the norms in the society are not well shown. That allows for social change as members of the society are unaware of the rules governing the society.

The permeability feature of reality makes the rules very prominent in everyday life that nobody can change what the people believe. The prominence of the rules surrounding a society may make the society vulnerable to social change in the long run. When the people around a society are practicing a very prominent tradition or modernity, they might influence the neighboring community, thus giving way to social change. For social change to happen, it would take both practical and theoretical activities. Practically, implementing the skills for the active involvement of young people in making the change happen would be quit helpful. It is the children of today and the young people in general who form the leaders of the society in the near future.

Involving the youth in bringing social change means the change would happen even if it would take some time. It is the young people who also do not have the rigidity feature that most elderly persons have. The elderly believe in the tradition of the society no matter how unrealistic the practices are. Actively involving young children would mean a lot in the society (Goffman, 2011). Supporting local groups to explore and develop their understanding of leadership, learn new skills and even grow in confidence as young leaders is also a practical way for social change in the society. Exposing local groups to a set of activities, exploring different aspects of leadership and developing new skills as they put them into practice is perfectly a technique that would be significant in bringing social change. Above all, utilizing the role of technology in shaping the community into a modern society would be also vital in the struggle to bring social change in the society.

According to the sociological theory of religion; symbolic interactionism, immediate social interactions as discussed above, gives meaning to their immediate behavior through reflection. Symbolic aspects are enough to bring in social change in the society. It is the day to day experiences of the society members that bring in social change in the society. As explained in the five features of reality, enthomethodology is useful in helping people to make sense of the world by analyzing their daily experiences. In a nutshell, the tendency for humans to maintain the status quo determines the depth of influence that the society may have on individuals. What is perceived by individuals about the social aspects in the society is the determinant of their beliefs. A culture is therefore exposed to social change when those who desire for the change to happen practically influence the people in the society through their action, words and gestures.


  1. Alfonso, B. and Rice, B. (1987). Barry Alfonso. In V. Vale & A. Juno (Eds.), Pranks! (RE/ Search, No. 11) (208-218). San Francisco, CA: RE/Search Publications.
  2. Bell, I., McGrane, B., Gunderson, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Welcome to College & Grades: Can You Perform Without the Pressure?. This Book Is Not Required (5th Edition) (pp. 3-48, 49-82). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  3. Goffman, E. (2011). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life: Selections. In O’Brien, J. (Ed.), The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings on Social Interaction (5th Edition) (pp. 262-271). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
  4. Huxley, Aldous. (1932). Brave New World. London, UK: Chatto & Windus.
  5. Mehan, H. & Wood, H. (2011). Five Features of Reality. In J. O’Brien (Ed.), The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings on Social Interaction (5th Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
  6. Newman, D. M. (2015). Taking a New Look at a Familiar World. In Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life (Brief Edition/4th Edition) (pp. 3-10, 11-24 and 27-46). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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A Study of Society's Impact on an Individual's Outlook in Life. (2021, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-study-of-society-s-impact-on-an-individual-s-outlook-in-life-essay

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