New rules of sociologial method
BY Anthony Giddens
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND DISCUSSIONS
CHAPTER 1: Some methods of social theory and philosophy
Social science is basically the branch of scientific study pertaining to the human aspects of life in the world. This is the collective term for the different academic disciplines that are individually focused on specific aspects of human life on the planet ranging from their origins to their development and their present condition. Differing from other field of sciences, social science pertains specifically to the human only and their nature as sentient beings. This field is not concern on the concept of humans as living things but on studying their humanity as the most complex and intelligent life form on the planet.
Social sciences are employ qualitative and quantitative nature and approach regarding their studies and theories making this field empirical in its basic nature. Researches and studies on this field are conducted with scientific process in gathering empirical informations and concepts divulging important aspects in the human’s life. This field greatly relies on practical knowledge gathered through thorough and systematic research and experiment procedures to prove its theories and establish general concepts regarding the different nature of the human being.
The field of social science encompasses many academic disciplines with each focus on different critical human aspect such as human origins from anthropology and history, social systems varying from economics, education, law, social policy, international relation, linguistics and others. Each of these disciplines is equally significant as they all aid the understanding of the different aspect of human’ life and promote the development of the human civilization. Indeed, the field of social science is greatly significant to the human civilization as it foster the development of knowledge regarding the very intricate nature of the human beings.
In the same manner, sociology is basically the scientific field about the study of human behavior and personal psychology of the individuals in the society. This particularly relates to the relationship and interaction of each individual as they satisfy their psychology need to be with other people. As one may know, each person is characteristically social beings as they seek the presence of other individuals to either interact with them learning from each other. In addition, being with other people also help each individual understand better himself or herself as they see they nature while they are in the presence of the general society. Indeed, sociology focuses on the behavioral nature and motivational factor of each individual as they interact with each other in the society.
Sociology also focuses on the different social system and structures in the society regulating and developing the relationship and interaction of each person. In this aspect, different social system and structures also plays an important part in the personal behavior and interaction process of the people. Fields such as the political, economic, religion and others significantly affect the lives in the society as they develop their own personal behaviors.
While in the presence of the society, people, sociology has able to elaborate some of the characteristics of the behavior of people in it. Personally, this writer thinks that one of the most common displayed human behaviors is change, as human personality tends to be erratic and unpredictable. Often, people tend to shift from one basic social characteristic such as the moral view and perspective as affected by the view of others as they have learned from their interactions. Thus, change in a person’s personality is a characteristic positively normal to the society as each people tend to adapt and real sense of learning and developing from their own personal experiences. This is the particular
CHAPTER 2: Agency act-identification and communicative intent
In this chapter the different processes of identifying the acts of the society through knowing the causes and effects of the different situations that humans are particularly involved with everyday. Individuals, different as they are, have different characters and have different procedures in facing the different situations in life. Through understanding the typical ways by which humans react towards the different elemental factors of life, gives a much clearer views as to why and how people react to certain situations the way that they do. Some of the said procedures of facing situations are further noted below.
At some point in the state of embracing and living up the important social roles of certain individuals, some actually disengage from their present role for personal reasons. This process of disengaging from important social roles is called role exit. The process of role exit actually takes several gradual stages preparing and adjusting the disengagement of an individual from his or her present role ending often to the stage of taking in new roles. These stages are arranged according to the sociological perspective of the individual involved namely, going through denial and doubts, seeking other alternatives or further reasons, acceptance and realization and then total disengagement from the practice of the previous role.
Positions in the society can be attained through either the use of the personal abilities and skills or through the family background or influences. Often times, some social positions are even denoted to be brought by the combination of the two sociological concepts. However, the more common nature of attaining social career or professional is through the development and application of personal skills and efforts making the social position an achieved status in nature. One common example of this status set is position of becoming an honor student as this title requires much efforts and application of skills of an individual to achieve the said position. Generally, those who become honor students are the industrious and devoted people willing to strive and exert effort to achieve the said position.
In the society, each individual must assume and take into themselves their own specific social position which is visible that will characterize their personality and individuality. In the sociological aspect, this social position is denoted with the term of master status. One of the concepts that can serve as a master status is the role interpretation of an individual wherein he or she focuses his or her self into a certain field making it identifiable to his or her personality. It is noted that the master status of an individual supersedes his or her other personal identifying traits such as becoming career-oriented for economic standing over becoming other traits.
CHAPTER 3: Production and reproduction of social life
Globalization has been totally recreating the whole society of man ever since it has been introduced to the worldwide economy. Its aims of remaking the economic system of the world trade activities have also affected the main issues that concern mankind. One of its biggest contributions to the human civilization is much connected with information revolution which instead of bringing the people of the world together, has created greater barriers for people belonging to different economic brackets. Hence, although the growing cultural connection that is being built between economic allied countries have in many ways been serving as a worldwide connection, it could not be denied that it also creates chaos between people who have been coming from different races and moving together in a certain industrialized country.
True to its sense, among the globalization’s direct effect to different countries around the world, is the fact that the constant growth of international industries has opened bigger and better opportunities of employment for people in the city. As a result, there came to be massive immigration rates which attracted families from lesser fortunate countries to transfer to other places which could promise them better life in terms of economic stability. Globalization is perceived as bringing unprecedented opportunities to billions of people. The staggering expansion of world trade has induced a wave of productivity and efficiency and has created new jobs.
True, because of the existence of the new technologies that assists globalization expansion, it could not be denied that only through a click of the mouse, and there could be numerous acts that could be done by hackers and surfers towards the economy of industrially shifting countries. Another point of consideration involves smaller countries which could not afford the global trade expenses. Hence, they are left behind as other bigger countries are able to compete in the economic arena of world trade activities.
Certainly, even though the influences of mostly the western culture floods the information industry, it could not be denied that families continue to apply at least some of the most applicable cultures that they could still retain in their dealings with a modern style of living. For many poor families especially, living within their means, which is usually hosted by their original culture, they are able to survive the challenges of a globally competitive lifestyle.
To be able to know how much the families have been coping with the social changes that globalization have brought to the human society, it would be helpful to know the three major reasons why some families are encouraged or attracted to go to other foreign countries. The said three main reasons are as follows:
EDUCATION: Many Koreans are attracted in transferring to English speaking countries because of their belief that being influenced by people who speak English could help them become individuals who are capable of being globally competitive. However, it could be noticed that by keeping their traditions even though they are staying in other countries have kept their culture alive even on the very countries that they have transferred to such as the Philippines.
ECONOMIC GROWTH (Wider array of Job Opportunities): There are several immigrants who are forced to leave their countries (mostly the third world countries) to be able to find better jobs to support their family’s needs. However hard it could be, they try to retain the culture that they have already been used to. Hence, they are able to preserve the old culture that they had before they transferred residence.
CHANGE of ENVIRONMENT: Some just try to travel to relax, however, when they find themselves being caught ‘in love’ with the new place they visited, at times they decide to stay. As a result, they try to retain their original culture through sharing it with the natives of the country and encouraging them to re3cognize the beauty and uniqueness that their culture posses.
CHAPTER 4: Form of explanatory accounts
Naturalistic observation is considered as one of the basic methods in psychological research and study. This fundamental research methodology is known to divulge and aid the psychologist in his or her critical analysis of the human behavior and characteristics while in socially acceptable public domain in his or her course of interacting with other individuals in their aspect of addressing their sociological needs. In this aspect of human interaction, psychologist try to significantly analyze the human nature as shown by their actions both involving the verbal and non-verbal communication style and how individuals manifest their motives while adhering to the social values and cultures pertaining to public communication.
Naturalistic observation is commonly an actual observation of subjects mainly while they are in their course of social interaction specifically while they are in the public place. In the course of implementing this method, the researcher must also observe social values and cultural manners thus preventing any offensive act during the observation. In addition, the concept of personal privacy and inappropriate intrusion should also be constantly observed while the researcher is observing the subjects. All of these limitations must be implemented while the researcher observed the subjects in an isolated nature keeping his or her presence unnoticed and ideally absent to the personal space of the subject during their interaction. The only aspect to be focused on in this project is the psychological behavior of the subject as manifested by their very intricate details such as gestures, voice, reaction, facial expression and impression and others.
The chosen subjects are a man and a woman both Caucasians who are dining in a restaurant and are observably conversing with each other regarding a specific matter which both of them can relate. It is very apparent from the observable verbal and non-verbal aspect of their communication that the topic they are conversing is very critical as they both stresses their own involvement and awareness to it. Verbal recording is not very likely in this situation as an attempt to push this is prevented by the environment and the situation at hand however, few notes of recorded key words denotes that they are talking about a legal and ethical issue in their work environment. Words mentioned such as “management”, “chief-of-executives”, “a settlement bargain” and “what the labor union ought to do” will denote that they are both involve in the same job and in the same issue they are both probably working with. This will suggests that the situation is likely an informal meeting between the two, possible from different party, to discuss some important details regarding their business issue or a settlement for the resolution of their topic. This is established to be informal by the researcher as suggested by their attire as they are into casual wear.
In non-verbal observation, the actions and gestures of the subjects will denote that they are with a professional background as their etiquettes and manners are significantly refined for the matter (Aronson et al, 2004; Lesko, 2000). In addition, their gesture mainly the speaker, at their specific chances, will suggests a clear and direct emphasis on his or her point thus suggesting that their topic is indeed of high importance (Lesko, 2000). This concept is further followed with the high intention of the other to listen carefully and then reply with his or her personal opinion on the matter with a language that is concise and direct to the point. The observed intonations and voice volume is noticeably well modulated suggesting that both of the subjects as well versed in the field of the topic and that they are cautious of offending the other.
With critical and empirical observation of the subjects, this researcher has noted that the man seems to be speaking more frequently while the woman speaks primarily in response to the man’s idea. This factor suggests that the man has the part of proposal or he is the one with the main intention for the meeting, which is likely established by him. The verbal aspect of the woman can thus be regarded to be as a commentary or a supplementary mean in this conversation making her the character that the proposal is focused with. In the aspect of considering the hypothesis that is previously stated, the man is postulated to speak more frequently in the following period. And in the observed subjects, the man is indeed noted to have spoken more frequently than the woman, which establishes the hypothesized interactional pattern in the social behavior of the observed individuals.
CONCLUSION CHAPTER: Some new rules of sociological method
To understand the people more and be able to see how they primarily react to the situations that they are facing in a sociological perspective, the author of the book further suggests the use of different theories in thus chapter. Below are only some of the theories mentioned within this chapter of the said reading.
The theory of Self-Discrepancy
The theory of self-discrepancy refers to the way a person reacts towards a certain situation, which usually involves his emotions and his behavior towards the occurrence. As for an example, a personal experience by the author shall be cited as a part of this observation.
The big-bosses of the different business organizations usually utilize fear-arousing conversations to motivate their employees. According to most of the business experts, this arousal of fear in people moves them to do the necessary things that they are appointed to finish through being fearful and not through the enjoyment of the job. FEAR can be both beneficial and harmful. An unhealthy fear may give rise to digestive troubles, blood-pressure problems and other serious bodily malfunctions. In fact, it can be death dealing. Says the Illustrated Medical and Health Encyclopedia: “In all life there is nothing as destructive to happiness and longevity as fear.” A wholesome fear, on the other hand, can be life preserving, restraining a person from dangerous, foolhardy action.
As for example, a negatively dealt-with fear could result to negative effects as well. People who are fearful of their employers usually avoid the shame, injury and heartache that result from excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages. In the United States, alone alcohol abuse is implicated each year in a million serious traffic accidents, one fourth of all the suicides and half of all murders. Many thousands die each year from ailments caused or aggravated by excessive drinking. Alcohol abuse is responsible for shortening the life span of individuals by about twelve years, on the average. As clearly laid in this paragraph, it could be noticed how much impact fear-arousing conversation could have on an individual if the communication has been taken by the receiver in a negative way. On the other hand, positively receiving the communication process could give an individual the necessary points of consideration for self-progress could be attained by the receiver of the message. If the criticism of the fear-based order would be utilized by the receiver in a more productive manner then the results would be more beneficial for the person himself.
Festinger’s Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
It is according to Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance that when a person’s behavior is changed, then the emotion and the actions of that person would also change to support the behavioral; adjustments that has been implemented in him. Hence, this would mean that once a person is asked or encouraged to change his ways of behaving in some certain situations, his emotional and physical reaction towards the occurrences is also obvious to change.
A person is one as a whole, meaning whatever it is that makes him up, whether physical or emotional is the entire composition of his being. Thus, changing him changes his whole being. Through an observational procedure, this theory could be proven true and applicable to understanding human behavior. As for example, a person is undergoing a behavioral therapy. His reason for undergoing the therapy is his unstable emotional capacity of responding to the different situations that he has to face daily. Hence, in the therapy, he is asked on would he react on certain situations. Later on, he should contrast it to how he should really react to the circumstance. By doing so, the Therapist would understand what has to be changed in his behavior so that his approach to the situations that he face would be more stable that disturbing as it has been before.
Ethically, psychological therapists may say that this way of observational procedure may directly affect the person being treated with therapy. However, if it is implemented with a high regard on the individual’s privacy rights, then the said procedure would be much beneficial than insulting to the person.
Impression management is the way people try to control other’s impression of themselves. Why? This is mainly rooted from the fact that everyone is guilty of having the need of being socially accepted. Aside form this, it is also normal for every individual to have a wanting having a feel-good sense on one’s own being. Hence, to be able to do so, some individuals are influenced to control other’s impression on them. Hence, when they know that others have a fine impression of them then they grow the feeling of being internally, and personally good. Aside from this, they also feel socially accepted since other people regard them in a fine way.
In a personal experience, being in a multicultural society has moved the author of this paper to control other’s impression on him. Doing so have given him the chance of getting along well with others regardless of their race and their cultural differences. In the end of dealing with a diverse community, he himself has realized the fact that cultural origins have a lot of effect on one’s impression management of others. Since the people who are present in the society have behaviors rooted from their places of origins, it could be identified that they too have different reactions towards one’s way of controlling their impressions on the said individual.
Anthony Giddens. (1993). New Rules of Sociological Method: Second Edition. Stanford University Press; 2 edition.