Identifying Sociology Essay

Sociology is the systematic study of humans in groups. There are different ways to study these groups of humans and most sociologists are aware of the different ways.

As a student studying sociology the class was given a task to observe human interactions in groups and relate what I found out to what I have learned so far. Out of the many different ways to study groups we had to use participant observation, systematically studying people while joining them in activities. I decided to join and observe the public in one of the most well-known coffee houses in the world, Starbucks.I chose Starbucks because it’s a very popular place and hardly ever empty.

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It’s also a place where I would blend in well, appearing as a college student away at his studies. The Starbucks I chose was connect to a Barnes and Noble bookstore, which made the groups a little more interesting. Looking back at my notes I noticed there is another culture as soon as you step thru the doors of that coffee house, there’s a way you think when you order your drink, in which order to say what type of milk or what size you’d like.There’s ways of acting in Starbucks, you automatically walk up to the register and form a line even when there isn’t a marking to show you in what direction the line must go. And there are most certainly material objects within the doors of this coffee house. Thus I must make the statement that Starbucks has its own culture. There was one woman who appeared to be in her late forties who I just happened to be observing, she looked normal, calm, cool, and collected.

But watching her order her drink and the way she was staring at the menu seemed as if she was new to this coffeehouse, the barista serving did not care to ask if she had ever been there. They just assume everyone knows what is in Starbucks and how to order, but it was becoming quite obvious that this woman did not. She did manage to put a drink order in but just stepped back and I almost could hear her say in her head “okay” with sort of a frazzled and confused tone.She did, however, figure out that she was supposed to wait for her drink at the other end of the long counter. She knew this because she watched the man that ordered before her receive this drink at the end of the counter. This is form of social interaction in a sense that she was reacting and acting upon relation to the man receiving his drink.

It also seemed she experience a miniscule amount of culture shock, in a way that she was confronted with norms that she was not familiar with.One thing you notice within any given Starbucks is its customers and employees all vary in age, gender, race, religion, and any other aspect of human culture which makes people diverse. One thing we all in common is the fact that we all have different statuses or roles which also consists of more than one in each person.

Looking at any particular person in Starbucks you wouldn’t be able to point out their roles unless you interact with them. The people of Starbucks, if you aren’t looking at anything besides the person, take the statuses of either customer or worker.If you look at what they’re wearing or what they’re saying over the phone or to another customer you could figure out other statuses they may have, but that is unclear unless you were to actually talk to them. Agents of culture are all around us, not until I took a course in sociology did I notice these. I didn’t notice that people study our behaviors in such a manner. That we actually have something like a norm, it’s like a program and when that program glitches most cases it’s frowned upon, just like when you break a norm it’s called a folkway.But talking and observing sociology isn’t the same.

When putting yourself “into the field” but at the same time looking back at what people is actually doing then you see culture. You see the norms and the folkways and nonmaterial culture. When I first began my observation I had no clue what I was to look for and how I was going to write this out but about ten minutes into it I began to see our culture, well the culture of Starbucks.


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