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Government and Social Control in the Hunger Games

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Sydney LaVora

on 8 December 2014

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Transcript of Government and Social Control in the Hunger Games

Key Terms
so•cial con•trol:
the
process
by which
groups
and individuals within those groups are brought into
conformity
with
dominant social expectations

The Poor Working Class
(functionalism)

In society, people in poverty are often group together and often seen as deviants. In the poor working class, the likelihood of punishment for deviance is very high. Diaz explains deviance as, “Actions or behaviors that violate formal and informal cultural norms, such as laws or the norm that discourages public nose-picking” (Diaz). The article “The Poor Pay All” says that the poor are stereotyped by society as deviants and are punished to show other classes the correct way to act (Gans). This is a form of social control. “Social control theory argues that relationships, commitments, values, and beliefs encourage conformity” (Diaz). The actions and resulting punishments reinforce the acceptable actions of people in society. In the Hunger Games movie, the Capitol uses the same type of social control to gain obedience from their districts. The more poor the district, the more heavily guarded and strict the area is. When Katniss held up her three finger symbol of consciousness to the events happening, a whole district broke out in riots. The result was large government enforcement of the district forcing them into submission. This districts’ suffering led to the reinforcement of the rules and norms in the Capitol and other districts (The Hunger Games). “Through external means of control, individuals conform because an authority figure threatens sanctions if the individual disobeys” (Diaz). In real life, we see the effects of social control and government authority daily. The poor working class provides an easier life for the upper classes by stabilizing jobs and presenting working opportunities for those not at the top of their field. Health care in America is very costly and sometimes the poor can not afford the best doctors. This supports the system because doctors who are old or unable to perform as well can find work in poor communities and charge the patients less money. The government creates public health jobs because the poor working class needs assistance (Gans).Therefore, supporting the system. The poor cannot afford to withdraw from their role due to economic circumstances which reinforces social control and stability.



Diaz, Ariel.Boundless. Cloud Powered Education. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. Gans, Herbert J. “The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All”. Social Policy. Blackboard. July/August 1971. Web. 26 October 2014. The Hunger Games. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson. 2012. Film
Thank you!
Mapping Statement
In order to adequately analyze the hunger games sociologically while incorporating its connection to government and social control, we broke our presentation into the four sociological perspectives. Within the discussion of each sociological perspective, we analyze the movie and its connection to the indicated perspective as well as to government and social control. Within each section, the five articles are included under the sociological perspective that they relate to. As for our sources of action, we believe that methods incorporated under conflict theory would best benefit Katniss's cause.
Concluding Statement
In the Hunger Games, the capital as the government of Panem reinforces social control using population control tactics. These tactics include, first, Hunger; which means that all districts have to survive, and they are too distracted by finding food to disobey the capital or rebel. Secondly, the Hunger Games makes the districts vulnerable to the capitals power to end their lives. As an institution, the government of Panem is totalitarian and holds power and authority over the districts. A prime example of social control over the districts is the Hunger Games. The abuse of power and authority of the Capital oppresses the districts. A possible solution to change the system would most likely agree with conflict theory. Rebellion would be the best solution to end class conflict.
Government and Social Control in the Hunger Games
By: Faisal Alateeg, Sabrea Ewing, Brittany Fifer,
Julia Vu, &
Sydney LaVora

Functionalist Perspective
“I-I-I just don’t want to be another piece of their game, you know?”

“I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don’t own me”
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Social Control Theory
describes internal means of social control
argues that relationships, commitments, values, and beliefs encourage conformity
if moral codes are internalized and individuals are tied into broader communities, individuals will voluntarily limit deviant acts
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

3 Types of Conformity
1. compliance: public conformity, while possibly keeping one’s own original beliefs to oneself (ex. the reaping)
2. identification: conforming to someone who is liked and respected (ex. when speaking with Caesar, when listening to Effie, & and when allowing Cina to get them ready -- they conform to what those in power demand of them)
3. internalization: accepting a belief or behavior and conforming both publicly and privately
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Formal & Informal Social Control
caused by the reactions of individuals and groups that bring about conformity to norms and laws

includes peer and community pressure, bystander intervention in crime, and collective responses such as citizen patrol groups
For·mal:
In·for·mal:
formal means of control include the threat of sanctions or enforced sanctions manipulated by the state to encourage social control

includes imprisonment and fines
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

What Type of Government is represented in Panem?
Totalitarianism:
A system of government in which the people have virtually no authority and the state wields absolute control, for example, a dictatorship.

Dictatorship:
A type of government where absolute sovereignty is allotted to an individual or a small clique.
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

The Feminist Perspective
Politics
is the process by which groups of people
make decisions
. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of
social relations involving authority or power
, the
regulation of political units
, and the methods and tactics used to formulate and
apply social policy
.

Power
is frequently defined as the
ability to influence the behavior of others
with or without resistance.

Authority
refers to the
use of power
that is seen as
legitimate or socially approved/recognized.
--Weber

states that legitimacy distinguishes authority, from coercion, force, power, leadership, persuasion and influence. Superiors, he states, feel that they have a right to issue commands; subordinates perceive an obligation to obey
-
Authoritarianism
primarily differs from totalitarianism in that social and economic institutions exist that are not under governmental control.
-The three
attributes of authority
are
status, specialist skills, and social position
.
Government
Although there are several observations that can be made in regards to the oppression of women, for the most part, Katniss is portrayed as a powerful female who is equal to her male counterparts
Examples of Equality
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Katniss Defies Gender Norms
Katniss – sort of the
male of the household
has to be
mother and father figure
-- mother to Prim, father in taking care of family, getting food, money, etc.

has to be
responsible for Prim
, can't leave because has to take care of Prim --
never going to get married
because of gov., wouldn't raise a child in this place
shoots at people, score of 11 – girl power

girl on fire -- POWERFUL

Interview – not desirable or polite like other girls, but people like her

even Peeta’s mom thought district 12 was going to have a winner -- Katniss (a girl)
Katniss Defies Gender Norms
equal in that one boy and one girl is chosen and they are looked at as equal even though is physical

both Katniss and Peeta have to get made up before they go, waxing etc.

as a woman – not any more social control than a man

men can show aggression toward women -- viewed as equal, no matter gender, still can hurt each other
doesn't need strength like Peeta, needs wits and a bow and arrow

romance -- Peeta more emotionally attached than Katniss, gender opposites

only friends with guys

hunts – manly sport
Katniss Defies Gender Norms
Conflict Theory
Integration into Culture
(conflict)
What happens when people are integrated into a culture different from their own? The article, “Being Sane in Insane Places” mentioned that, “What is viewed as normal in one culture may be seen as quite aberrant in another”(Rosenhan). This means that what is considered “normal” varies from place to place. This could be due to different factors, particularly government and types of social control. The government has a large amount of power and authority. “Power is frequently defined as the ability to influence the behavior of others with or without resistance…Authority refers to the use of power that is seen as legitimate or socially approved/recognized” (Diaz). The people in the article were considered incapable of functioning in a normal way. This decreased their power and made them subject to unfair treatment or assumptions. The government is a major contributor to the normalcy of things in society. The power and recognized authority they hold influences what people perceive as right or wrong and enforces social control. In the film, The Hunger Games, the power of the Capitol derived from their wealth and resources. They created their own culture and a new set of norms to go along with it. When Katniss visited the Capitol for the Hunger Games, she was forced through many new rituals and treated with little power over herself and her actions. Such as the patients in the mental hospital (The Hunger Games). In real life, the government has the power and authority to change social norms if they feel necessary. In high school, the Principal (leading authority) would demand the students to be silent while eating lunch for 10 minutes. This simple rule is a real life example of the power of government and authority. A student from another school with different rules, would be unaccustomed to this norm in the school atmosphere.

Diaz, Ariel.Boundless. Cloud Powered Education. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Rosenhan, D.L. “Being Sane in Insane Places”. Blackboard. 1973. Web 24 October 2014.
The Hunger Games. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson. 2012. Film.
Outsider’s Within (conflict)
What does it mean to be an outsider within? In the article “Learning from the Outsider Within” an African American woman describes feeling out of place with the white “family” whom she works with (Collins). The white families hold a large amount of power and authority in their culture over the African Americans. . “Power is frequently defined as the ability to influence the behavior of others with or without resistance…Authority refers to the use of power that is seen as legitimate or socially approved/recognized” (Diaz). The amount of power these white families have influences social control among society members. The African Americans are conditioned to believe they are not worth as much as the white families, even though they in fact raise the children. The white families are influenced to believe this and act accordingly. A lot of the power was given to white families by the government itself. The power and authority the government has in making laws enforces social control keeping African Americans submissive to white power in this time period. In the film, the Hunger Games, Katniss and the lower class tributes feel like they don’t belong in this new city. The Capitol welcomes them and gives them everything they have to offer before the games, but Katniss feels like an outsider within. She has been thrown into a new culture which,in the long run, penalizes her for the good if the people in the Capitol (The Hunger Games). In real life, the same idea applies to starting a new job. Everyone in that social structure knows each other and there are new rules and regulations to follow. The individual may feel like an outsider within until they become fully integrated. This process may make the individual feel insufficient compared to the other workers decreasing his/her power and authority.

Collins, Patricia H. “Learning from the Outsider Within”. Blackboard. 1986. Web. 24 October 2014.
Diaz, Ariel.Boundless. Cloud Powered Education. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
The Hunger Games. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson. 2012. Film.
Conflict theory
sees social life as a
competition
, and focuses on the distribution of
resources, power, and inequality
.
•Unlike functionalist theory, conflict theory is
better at explaining social change
, and weaker at explaining social stability.
•Conflict theory has been
critiqued for its inability
to explain
social stability
and
incremental change.
•Conflict theory derives from the ideas of
Karl Marx.
A conflict theorist might ask, "Who benefits from the current higher educational system in the U.S.? " The answer, for a conflict theorist attuned to unequal distributions of wealth, is the wealthy. After all, higher education in the U.S. is not free. The educational system often screens out poorer individuals, not because they are unable to compete academically, but because they cannot afford to pay for their education. Because the poor are unable to obtain higher education, they are generally also unable to get higher paying jobs, and, thus, they remain poor. Such an arrangement translates into a vicious cycle of poverty. While a functionalist might say that the function of education is to educate the workforce, a conflict theorist might point out that it also has an element of conflict and inequality, favoring one group (the wealthy) over other groups (the poor). Thinking about education in this way helps illustrate why both functionalist and conflict theories are helpful in understanding how society works.
Conflict Theory
The Functionalist perspective believes that the best way to run society is to maintain its structure. Stability is what is best for society, in order to avoid chaos.

For the Hunger Games, we could see that the type of government that is exhibited is a totalitarian government. The Capitol serves as the state exercising complete control and authority over these twelve lower districts.

The way the system is organized produces inequality between the Capitol and the districts. The Capitol being the dominant group that enjoy more privilege and advantages compared to the districts. Resources such as food and energy fuel is limited to those living in the districts.

However, the book had stated that this type of system has been working and running for a long time.

Source: Boundless. “The Functionalist Perspective.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 02 Jul. 2014. Retrieved 26 Nov. 2014
Functions of Crime
Crime serves to provide stability to society
It is a
social phenomenon
that exists
in every society
Functionalist perspective believes that crime helps bring about
gradual, slow social change
It helps to
enforce the government’s authority
.
Diverting the problem
to the
poor and the criminals
, rather than seeing that the
actual problem
is the
government
and
elite
who are controlling it.
Aspects of social control could be seen in crime.
Informally, this can be seen with how the
participants in a crime
would want to fit into the
social norms of their group
. A formal aspect of social control would be the government enforcing its laws and punishing those who break them.

Relation to the function the Hunger Games serves to the Capitol.

Durkheim, Emile. “The Functions of Crime.” The Rules of the Sociological Method. (1982): 174-177. Web. 14 October 2014.
The system is run by a small group of powerful and wealthy individuals who choose to maintain a system that benefits the rich, and further oppresses the poor.
Hunger Games-The Capitol holds the Hunger Games every year, advertising it to the people living in the Capitol as a source of entertainment. The Hunger Games is set up to only benefit the Capitol and not the districts. The districts are the ones who have to sacrifice one of their own members to fight in this game.
The Districts do the dirty jobs that Capitol doesn’t want to do. The gap between the rich and the poor is very large. Most districts are living in poverty. There is a lack of opportunity for those living in the districts for education, or high-skilled jobs.

Reiman, Jeffrey. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. Needham Heghits, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1997. 182-186. Print.
Rich get Richer (Conflict Theory)
Another main example of social control through formal means would be the Hunger Games. A deadly game where two members of each district are forced to kill one another until one survivor remains.

The Capitol holds the Hunger Games once a year as a reminder to the other districts not to rebel and question their authority that had resulted from a previous district that had tried to overthrow the Capitol.
The functions that the Hunger Games has provided, helps to maintain the Capitol's power over the districts, having the districts focus on fighting with one another instead of actually fighting the Capitol who created this game.
This is the 74th Hunger Games, meaning that this tradition has been going on for a long time. This means that the Hunger Games has been successful in serving its function for society.

Functionalist Perspective
Symbolic Interactionist:
is a sociological perspective that is influential in many areas of the sociological discipline. It is particularly important in microsociology and social psychology.
Symbolic Interactionism has roots in phenomenology, which emphasizes the subjective meaning of reality.

Symbolic Interactionism proposes a social theory of the self, or a looking glass self.

Symbolic Interactionists study meaning and communication; they tend to use qualitative methods.

Symbolic Interactionism has been criticized for failing to take into account large-scale macro social structures and forces.

Boundless. “The Symbolic Interactionist Perspective.” Sociology. Boundless, 27 Jun. 2014. Retrieved 26 Nov. 2014
Symbolic Interactionism
Feminism
glass ceiling
Functionalism
criminal justice system and the capital
Conflict Theory
social stratification seen within the educational system
Symbolic Interactionalism
Clothing
Recap. of Applications to Real Life
Sources of Action
Functionalist Perspective
The functions that can be found in this type of government is: order is established, productivity is possible, and stability is maintained.
With the Capitol, it exists to help society run smoothly and predictably. Maintaining the government as it is, with the Capitol in control would be the best option for people to survive and make a living.

Those who are the head leaders of the government have it organized in a way to maintain the Capitol's power over the districts through means of social control.
Social control can be seen formally with the Capitol using its officers to control and stop a protest that was happening in one of the districts (11th district). The officers or "peacekeepers" were using weapons and force to stop a protest that had erupted after one of the members from their district was killed.

Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Works Cited
Boundless. “Social Control Theory.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2014

Collins, Patricia H. “Learning from the Outsider Within”. Blackboard. 1986. Web. 24 October 2014.

Diaz, Ariel.Boundless. Cloud Powered Education. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

Durkheim, Emile. “The Functions of Crime.” The Rules of the Sociological Method. (1982): 174-177. Web. 14 October 2014.

Gans, Herbert J. “The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All”. Social Policy. Blackboard. July/August 1971. Web. 26 October 2014.

Reiman, Jeffrey. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. Needham Heghits, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1997. 182-186. Print.

Rosenhan, D.L. “Being Sane in Insane Places”. Blackboard. 1973. Web 24 October 2014.

Schwalbe, Michael. The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008. Print.

The Hunger Games. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson. 2012. Film
Examples of Conflict Theory in the Hunger Games
The Uprising:
Katniss taking care of Rue
(3 finger symbol)


DISTRICT 11 -- uprising among citizens, Peace Keepers must come in (tries to reestablish order)
Conflict Theory
We believe that the only way that the districts will be able to eliminate the social control that is thrust upon them through the capital is through radical change. Unfortunately, peaceful protesting by the districts would not provoke the capital to change their system. If the citizens, however, chose take the route of disrupting peace, the capital would be more inclined to allow social change because they would have to. Essentially, through the method of disrupting peace, their would be a shift of power from the Capital to the districts because they would not have any other choice.
Application to Real Life
Although there are clear examples of Katniss defying gender norms, there are not many indications of women in positions of power. Similar to the glass ceiling that is present in our current society, it is also revealed through the lack of women represented in the government of the capital.

On the other hand, the examples of genders equality, such as men and women being equally represented in the games, show more equality than that which is represented in our daily lives. For example, in the United States, males and females are often separated in sports, however, in the hunger games, men are allowed to show aggression toward women indicating the equality that is present between them in a sport even more violent than male dominated football in the United States.
How does this relate to real life?
We can see this with how the criminal justice system is organized and set up to give an unfair advantage to individuals who are rich compared to those who are poor and are part of a minority group.
In most cases, the individuals who are running the system are also part of the small group of wealthy and powerful. Biases and personal interests would result, with the poor being given greater punishments than the rich. Causing for greater oppression of the less powerful minority groups.
The Sociologically Examined Life
“Part of being sociologically mindful is looking at the rules that govern social arrangements and asking what sorts of results those rules are bound to produce, regardless of people’s intentions. We can do this with games, organizations, economies, and governments-with any patterned way of doing things together”(150).

This quote can be related to the Hunger Games because of Schwalbe's explanation of being sociologically mindful and Katniss's exemplification of this. It is evident that Katniss is sociologically mindful because she is aware of the social arrangements that are decided by the capital and the results that occur based off of these arrangements. Also, Schwalbe discusses using sociological mindfulness when playing games and studying governments similar to how Katniss recognizes the effects of social arrangements within the games and within the government.
Schwalbe, Michael. The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008. Print.
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