Society is a human product essay

“Society is a human product. Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product”

http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/REALITY.HTML) – the answer consists of three components and I want to consider them in series. The first essential component that we need to understand is that the society is a human product. “Just as it is impossible for man to develop as man in isolation, so it is impossible for man in isolation to produce a human environment. Solitary human being is being on the animal level (which, of course, man shares with other animals)”(http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/REALITY.HTML).


Society can neither be created nor exist without the human. I think that it can be obviously seen from an example of Robinson Crusoe before he met Friday in story of the same name by Daniel Defoe. When he lived on an island there was no society at all and he could not create it by himself alone. He lived among animals and as animals. It was impossible for Crusoe to develop human states inside of him. The second element is an objective reality.


Although the intricate form of this element, it is very easy to understand it. It means that the society or the world, we are living in, exists even if I (you, we, they etc) do not exist. By the moment of my delivery there already was the sun, the moon, my country, my city, my parents and so on. But when I grow older and begin to understand that all these exist it is very difficult for me to understand its genesis. The last component is that man is a social product. It is very difficult, but important to understand – the above example of Robinson Crusoe can illustrate it. When Crusoe met Friday they began to communicate in some way, they taught each other the basics of their native languages and thus they have gain an opportunity to build some kind of relations and society. So society is a human product, but man is a product of society – these concepts are interconnected.


2) How do structural functionalist address the question: How are societies maintained?


“While the most admirable of humanitarian efforts are sure to run counter to the individual interests of very many in the community, or fail to touch the interest and imagination o the multitude and to leave the community divided or indifferent, the cry of thief or murderer is profound complexes, lying below the surface of competing individual efforts, and citizens who have been separated by divergent interests stand together against the common enemy” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/MERTONR1.HTML). To explain this citation I would like to turn back to the example of Robinson Crusoe. While living alone Crusoe was like an animal, but with the appearance of Friday he maintains the society. Everything started from the intercourse – when they learned to understand each other. They found common interests such as economical and social. Economical consisted in mutual feeding, hunting, defending and living. Crusoe had weapons and could defend himself, hunt more effectively and Friday could collect roots and fruits, hunt little animals etc. Thereby they combined their efforts and realized the division of labor which, of course, made their life easier. Social interests consisted in knowledge, customs, traditions and some others – each participant brought in something new and gained something new for himself. Sometimes they had discrepancies and had fallen out when their interests crossed. But when Friday’s tribe tried to find and kill him, Crusoe helped him, in spite of their quarrels because he understood the importance of their little society. “… Owing to the combination of an abstract political, economic, or rather rational mechanism for the satisfaction of specific needs with concrete unity of a social group, the new institution is also the best intermediary link between the peasant primary-group and the secondary national system” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/MERTONR1.HTML). Indeed, Crusoe and Friday formed a social group, which had mutual interests. They united in order to satisfy their common needs and goals. But their relations were not equitable – Friday performed the unskilled labor and thus he presented peasant group but I think he was not hurt as far as he could not be a leader.


3) How does conflict theory address the question: Is inequality of social classes inevitable?


According to the article of Ralf Dahrendorf “Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society”, we still have classes because the society at least divides into groups of interests, which have their own interests, demands, missions and goals and usually intersect, conducting these groups to the collision. “…society has quasi-groups and interest groups, it has classes also. Like its precursor, advanced industrial society is a class society. Concept and theory of class are still applicable” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/DAHREND1.HTML) – it means that the above groups defend their interests, which often intersect with interests of other groups. Interest groups try to get the authority, they try to enter to the government and perform other actions. Some of them receive what they want, others do not, but it only intensifies their struggle. If they come to power they could resolve most of their problems and achieve most of their targets but at the same time they would intersect the interests of the other groups and violate their rights. In their turn the other groups would try to throw down those who govern and grasp the power from this point this story usually comes to the very beginning and everything repeats. The existence of these interest groups, cause the existence of classes. “The dominating groups of industry were at the same time the dominating groups of the state … Conversely, the subjected groups of industry were as such excluded from political authority…” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/DAHREND1.HTML) – inequality of social classes indeed is inevitable and I consider that it will always exist. Because of class society some people have better life and some have worse. Poor men blame rich for all their troubles – poverty and diseases, misfortunes and so on. Rich men have everything they want and, of course, authority. Then the poor try to grasp the authority and reckon with their offenders – it is called class struggle. The complete equity does not exist, it is abstract concept because there always can be found people whose rights are violated or they do not like something. Those people would try to find their own justice, but if they find this justice it may hurt others.


4) How does feminism address the question: How is racial/gender oppression possible?


“… the strong prenatal beliefs in African-American communities that foster early motherhood among adolescent girls, the lack of self-actualization that can accompany the double-day of paid employment and work in the home, and the emotional and physical abuse that many Black women experience from their fathers, lovers, and husbands all reflect practices opposed by African-American women who are feminists” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/BLKFEM.HTML). This citation gives a specific example of race and gender oppression. I think that it shows us that such oppression often occurs because of the differences in “black” and “white” cultures, customs, traditions and comprehensions of life. It can be applied to class concept. Let’s imagine that there are two classes – black and white. Black class is oppressed by white and its leaders and activists struggle for their rights. They prove that they are not worth than white and try to throw down the unfair power of white and establish the fair power of black but it would be fare only for black and unfair for white. That is how it can be explained from the position of sociology.


“People experience and resist oppression on three levels: the level of personal biography; the group or community level of the cultural context created by race, class, and gender; and the systemic level of social institutions. Black feminist thought emphasizes all three levels as sites of domination and as potential sites of resistance” (http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/courses/BLKFEM.HTML). Oppression on the level of personal biography, for example, is when an employer got to know some facts from personal life of a subordinate (such as sexual orientation, shady ties etc) and decides to fire the subordinate. Such oppression does not allow people to change fundamentally their lives and start them a new one. While being young most people make mistakes but less can forget about them and start from a new sheet. Oppression because of race, class and gender does not need to be explained, because it is practiced everywhere – females often considered to be bad chiefs, black people often considered to be uneducated and able to perform only unskilled labour, it is often considered that if you wear slovenly clothes you can not attend public places, women considered to be bad politicians and many other examples can be given. Oppression on the third level is exposing “…individuals to the specialized thought representing the dominant group’s standpoint and interests”.

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