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SOC1: Class 5

Culture/Meaning as a solution to social order

Michael Danza

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of SOC1: Class 5

Authority as a Solution to Social Order Think about Authority and Social Order

Offer a proposition linking causes and outcome
If rules are perceived by subordinates as "clear," "easy to understand," "fair," and "reasonable" then the subordinate's internal state will be an emotion (e.g confident, satisfied, or at ease), a value (e.g. diligence, duty, or effectiveness) or a habitual-motive.

Based on these internal states, the subordinates will elect to engage in behaviors that are permitted by the rules and social order is the likely outcome. Legitimacy and Social Order Punishment/Reward and Social Order Monitoring and Social Order Decision-Making (Democratic/Authoritarian) and Social Order You try it! New Material:
Culture/Meaning as a Solution to Social Order Social order requires shared meanings.

“Meaning” is a shorthand way of saying “the ability of people to communicate.” People need to understand each other.

“Meaning” is a macro-level cause

“Meaning” works through situational-mechanisms.
Culture refers to the expressive side of human life.

Examples: Symbols, words, objects, interpretations, jokes, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge

Anything that helps us interpret the world is culture/meaning!

We will use the words "culture" and "meaning" interchangably.
The “Software” of society SHARED meanings facilitates predictability and cooperation

Common weights and measures
Meters, pounds, liters, gallons,

Common currency
Money is symbolic
Money is collective

Common conceptions of time
12 month calendar
7 days in a week
60 minutes in an hours
60 second in a minutes Consider how challenging it would be to achieve cooperation and coordination without standardized weights and measures, a system of currency, and common conceptiosn of time. Examples of Shared Meanings Summary:

Social cooperation requires
Common knowledge/understandings
Communication Where do shared meanings come from? Karl Marx argued that the economic system shapes a society's ideas, attitudes, values, and knowledge.

More specifically, he argued that a groups "location" within the economic system shapes their ideas, attitudes, values, and knowledge.

CEOs of corporations watch golf,
Upper-Management watches watch baseball,
Middle-Management Watch baseketball,
Working-class guys watch football.

What the moral of the story? George Herbert Mead argued that meaning is created through social interaction.

Most importantly, we must learn roles through social interaction.

Roles are MEANINGFUL. Roles help us INTERPRET our part in the social world.

Roles answer important question:
Who am I?
What am I required to do here?
What can I obligate you to do for me?
How am I supposed to behave here?

We learn to internalize the expectations of society.

"We see ourselves as objects from the standpoint of others, and we judge ourselves accordingly (Ballantine and Roberts 115)." How are meanings created? Networks of meaning

Cat, pet, furry, playful, whiskers, bad breath

Coca-Cola, sugar, sweet, soda, Pepsi, burgers, pizza, caffeine, studying

Meaning emerges through association!
Meanings emerge through opposites!

Neural Networks & Cognitive Psychology
New Material:
Culture/Meaning a PROBLEM for SOCIAL ORDER The Tower of Babel
Does anyone know this story from the Bible?
Meaning/Culture and Social Disorder

If people do not share meanings, then it can cause major problems. Why? How?

Or, if shared meanings are destroyed or change then social order can be disturbed. Why? How? Discussion Question:
An Example of Change/Destroyed Shared Meaning

Recently the State Academic Senate considered changing the way we interpret “students” in community colleges.

Change --> From “students” to “consumers”

How might this change in meaning impact social order on community college campuses?
Discussion Question:
An example of groups NOT sharing the same meaning system

People who talk during the movie
People who like silence during the movie

How might culture/meaning be the cause of social disorder in this situation? Analyze the meanings! The Medical Student Example Review: Emotions Sociologists argue emotions are social and cultural.

Our knowledge/experience of emotions has been socialized by others.

We attempt to feel what we think we should be feeling. We attempt to feel what we are supposed to feel.

We are taught FEELING RULES.
Feeling rules govern the link between interpretations (meanings) and emotions. Situational Mechanisms!

Feeling rules are abstract.

Feeling rules organize interpretations into a
meaningful pattern.
Sympathy for "victims."

We tend to think emotion comes before interpretation but this is wrong.

Interpretation occurs before emotion

If we interpret people as “victims” (meaning) then we grant them sympathy (emotion).
Meaning + Emotion = Behavior

Situational Mechanism: If we label someone a “victim”…

Internal State: If we have sympathy for them…

Behavioral Mechanism: What type of behaviors are possibilities?
What are the meanings/symbols/objects/things that medical students engage? Let's apply our knowledge of meanings, feeling rules, and emotions to medical students Men: Breasts and Vagina

Ladies: Penis, Abs, Butt

Everyone: Vomit, blood, wounds, coughing, phlegm, puss, sores, rectum, anus, smelly armpits, dead bodies, dissection, bone saws, holding a dead heart in your hand, etc.
What kind of life did these students have prior to entering medical school? SHARED EXPERIENCES

Before Entering Medical School
Medical students are socialized in a society that teaches people to think that touching vomit is gross.

Medical students are socialized in a society that teaches people to think that parts of the body are sexy.
What are inappropriate emotions for medical students? Sexual arousal

Disgust & repulsion

Embarrassment, nervousness, anxiety, and guilt

Upset, unease, and sadness

What are the cultural feeling rules for these emotions?
How do they learn to manage their emotions? Change the meanings ~ Cognitive change

Transform the meaning of the body
The body parts have scientific names
The body is an intellectual puzzle to be solved
The body is like a mechanical machine
The body is like an animal specimen
The body is a location to be learned
Touching the human body can be transformed into a procedure
Focus on different meanings ~ Refocus Cognition

Touching human bodies is their responsibility

It would be immoral not to do your job (touch any where that needs to be touched for the patients health)!

Learning through touch is gratifying (nerds)

Learning through touch satisfies a long-standing curiosity

Pride and excitement
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