Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sociology IS a Science

Sociology is a deceptive topic. To many, sociology is written off as a science, due to its abstract concepts about societal habits. However, sociology is more fact and research based then one might think.
The main aspect about sociology that makes it a science is the scientific method. As the article states, the scientific method takes eight steps. The steps are as follows: selecting a topic, defining a problem, reviewing the literature, forming a hypothesis, choosing a research method, collecting data, analyzing the results, and distributing the findings.
Along with having steps, sociology is often based on concrete data that is record through polls, surveys, and direct observation. These processes make for very accurate conclusions in the sociological field.
I, personally, would have been in the majority that didn't think sociology is a science, but when I read about the use of the scientific method, which I have become very familiar with in my SCIENCE classes, I realized the error in my opinion.
Heres a kinda funny scientific cartoon I found.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eating Your Friends is the Hardest to Do

If you were hungry enough, would you eat your deceased friend? It seems unimaginable, yet that is the situation facing the survivors of the plane that crashed in the Andes in the article.
At first, the survivors really do not like the idea of eating their fallen comrades (who would?). It is a very obvious norm in most all societies that we do not eat one another. It is a pretty simple rule to follow, unless the situation demands it. In the situation of the survivors, they are facing death, as they are starving and well aware that rescue is unlikely. Norms are powerful but will be circumnavigated when it is absolutely necessary. And in doing so, structure and new norms are created (they develop rationing for the eating). And eventually, their old norms are irrelevant and new norms govern their lifestyles.
Basically, norms are all relative. Things in our lives have meaning because we give them meaning. In a subtle way, the article is showing that we should not judge the norms of other cultures, because we often do not know the circumstances that cause such norms.
I, for example, have a different set of norms acting upon me than say, a man in China. What I gesture for "OK" means something much more derogatory to the Chinese man. Both of us, being unaware of each other's norms, would be confused by one another.

To test your knowledge of norms, here it is... the one, the only, the URINAL QUIZ GAME!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nope. Dialect Differences Will Never Disapper

Picture this, a small town where everyone sounds the same. They have the same accent, the same phrases, the same style of vocabulary. That's hard to imagine, right? However, one might question why such a situation does not occur if the townspeople are all living together in a condensed area. To some degree the people may talk the same but there will always be subcultural differences, and the reason is individuality.
The article addresses such a question on a much larger scale, the whole country. People often wonder if, because of the television and social networking boom, dialects will be lost and a uniform style of speech will be formed for all Americans. However, the author of the article argues that such an occurrence will never happen because people are constantly adapting their speech "to stay one step ahead of the game". What the author means is that, even though language is spread from all  over the country due to television and other mediums, we still maintain our own unique styles of speaking to form our identity and associate ourselves with the groups we are a part of.
All of what the author had to say strongly ties in to the video series "Do You Speak American?". In the videos, they venture all over the country and sample different dialects. Not one is the same as the last. They are all fit to the individual. Such dialogues have many determining factors such as race, age, location, and social class. In essence, what you say projects who you are, or want to be.
The theories of the article remain true for me. I speak in a fashion that is fairly common to a middle class, white guy from the Chicagoland area. I have many phrases and words unique to my friends and school. I talk the way I do because of who I am, and TV won't change that.

Here is a website that has a very interesting way at broadly summarizing American speech by region.