Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Secret City Within The City(Subcultures)

By:Latifah Durham

There are subcultures all around, whether you notice or not. A subculture is a segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society.Basically, it can be thought as a culture existing within a larger, dominant culture. While trying to figure out what subculture to choose because there are so many, I narrowed it down to Chinatown.

Many people of subcultures often live by the dominant culture, but also at the same time doing and engaging in different  forms of behavior. While walking around Chinatown, I notice that the citizens that spend time there are very active in the dominant culture but I realize that having something that not everyone can't relate to is a good thing. I seen a lot of things that I would have never imagine. Living in Philly, when you think about food the first thing that comes to mind are cheesesteaks and pretzels, but in Chinatown, roasted duck and sushi are those things. I believe that this is a subculture because you can go right to 10 and Filbert and see the difference in trents and lifestlyes and how it is different from the outside community. Once you enter into Chinatown you instanly notice their unique peculair culture from the died ducks hanging from the windows, to the homeland artifacts that decorate the scenery. The streets of Chinatown came with an array of smells and sounds that you would never see or smell in the dominant culture.

Vietnam Restaurant, Great Meals Restaurants, Vietnamese, 221 N 11th St Philadelphia PA 19107

Chinese delacicies range from cow bronchial tubes served fried, turtle served within a soup, and bbq-ued duck. Some of these dining customs may seem bizarre to the dominant ideolgy but to the chinese culture these types of food are in fact their norms. If you are interested in knowing some of the common dishes found amongst this lively subculture check out this interesting menu.

In conclusion, I must say that doing this blog really open my eyes to see things from other people perspective. I now wonder how other people view my subcultures. Whether it is a sport team, religious beliefs, and/ or living community that all of these things makeup are dominant culture and give it that special whole feeling.

Race on Campus by Lanisha Moore

        Race and Ethnicity in the United States has been a huge debate for years. The subject is sensitive and is capable of resulting in controversy, protest, and even violence. Race is considered to describe groups with obvious different physical features, example being Caucasians and African Americans. Ethnicity usually considers the persons national origin or distinctive cultural patterns, example being Puerto Rican rathered than being categorized as Hispanic. The sociological perspective of  functionalists consider prejudice and discrimination based on race and ethnicity has positive functions for dominant groups. Interactionists social perspective concludes that everyday interaction between people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds contributes to tolerance or hostility. The issues surrounding the definitions and different emphasis from functionalists, and Interactionists has sparked huge debates on issues including discrimination in the work place, educational institutions and in the community.


         West Chester University students sparked huge debates and even received media attention following a flyer posted on campus to organize a "White Student Union". A mass e-mail was distributed to students denouncing any existence of any such union. The statements in the above video and beneath news article ponders questions such as, " Is it right for the school to have a Black Student Union but not a White Student Union" and  "Which if either Race is being under represented or appreciated". Race and Ethnicity will always continue to have huge effects on American Society. In some aspect this debate coincide with the debate surrounding "The Little Rock Nine" and other race in school debates. While some people will never admit to whether or not racism still exist, statistics show inequality, prejudice and discrimination still exist among different racial and ethnic groups. Most notably in fields surrounding education, social and economic status just to name a few.

       In Conclusion, I have no set response on West Chester University allowing a White Student Union. I will say everyone deserves a voice and has the right to such as long as it is respectful and intelligent. It should be done for a good cause not only out of spite or jealousy.

The Importance of Socialization

By Jusu Dunor
Socialization through Peer-group
Through socialization we discover how to behave, what to expect from others or society’s norms and values.

Sociologists, around the globe have been figuring out patterns of human attitudes and behavior from birth till prime of life. These observation and patterns carried on by sociologists is mainly geared toward the transformation of infants who are born without culture to developing a culture through a process called Socialization. During this process people learn values, attitudes and appropriate behaviors of a particular culture, that are acquired through parents, teachers and their general society. During socialization, we grasp the language of the culture we belong to as well as the positions we are to play in life.
Additionally, an important tool to socialization is Norms. In the field of sociology Norms play a vital role: it is the conception of appropriate and expected behaviors that are held by most members of the society, and acquired through socialization.
One may ask what the benefits of socialization are, what do we get when we socialize? The answer is simple. When we socialize we can achieve several things including the following:
  • Language
  • Culture (norms, values, beliefs, etc.) 
  • Perception of others
  • Consider ourselves as a social being or a “social self”

More besides, there are several elements and agents that are combined to form socialization. Listed below are few. 
  1. Primary socialization- socialization that occurs without the subject’s knowledge of it. 
  2. Secondary socialization – socialization that is purposeful and obvious 
  3. Anticipatory socialization – socialization that prepares people for future roles and statuses 
  4. Reciprocal socialization – when children socialize parents like parents socialize children and, 
  5. Re-socialization – the process of unlearning old norms, roles, and values, and learning new ones required in a new social environment.
Agents of socialization: an institution or group that prepares an individual for social life or society; example may include:
  • Family
  • School
  • Media
  • Peer-group
More importantly, the key concepts to socialization for our layman point of view are “culture” and “Norms”, these two are the pillow or cornerstone of socialization.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cultural Symbols & Their Repercussion

By Desiree Raucci

The human mind associates cultural symbols as a visual, verbal or written representation of reality. Sybolism is everywhere around us, we associate deeper meaning to symbols every day and most of us do not even realize. 

Visual Cultural Symbols can be seen everywhere, we brand ourselves with tattoos to make a statement, we wear brand name clothing, listen to music on our ipods and drink grande skim lattes from Starbucks. Every one of those things I just mentioned are a form of symbolism. We associate the bitten apple icon to all Macintosh products, as we also do with the swoosh created by Nike. Many of us, including myself have tattoos, perhaps to show our rebellion yet still grouping ourselves with the rest of the inked nation. A tattoo is a form of symbolism, they mean something deeper than the ink resting in your skin. Married couples wear wedding bands to show their status of being taken and to show their loyalty to their other half. Most of the world, when you see the bright, yellow arches while driving down a highway you know a McDonalds will be coming up in the near future. In short, visual symbols are everywhere around us.

Written Cultural Symbols are used everyday in one of the most popular things to do, texting. Texting has created a completely new language in recent years. Everything is abbreviated to make sending your message easier. Every language in the world is written symbolism, it shows our culture by another just by scanning the pages of a foreign book or magazine.

Spoken Cultural Symbols also show who we are as a culture. Many languages have created sub languages, such as ebonics, slang and accents. I was born and raised in South Philadelphia and hearing me speak, anyone could guess that is where I am from. A southern accent shows the cultural twang of the persons home, and the New York accent may be the most heard accent on television and in movies. 

In the world today symbolism can show the social status of a person, how educated they might be, the age and even the culutural background. The symbols around us, make us. Throughout the decades symbols have been born and buried, and then brought back to life. The peace sign was very popular in the 1960's and 1970's as a sign of freedom and love often used to protest the war in Vietnam. In recent years it has been reborn, yet used more lightly perhaps more of a fashion statement these days. It kind of has lost its powerful aura it once had in earlier times. Even the crucifix symbol associated with religion has been re vamped in society as a symbol, many stars and musicians wear the rosary around their neck. A cultural symbol has now changed into a fashion statement. Cultural symbolism keeps evolving and will never stop until humans cease to exist. In the end my main point I trying to make is if there is a culture, there is symbolism. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Worship of Pop Artist (a social norm)

By Sa'ood Abdul-Basit

A social norm basically consist of a common practiced behavior among a majority of individuals who belong to a group.  Social norms are not hard to find or recognize, in fact  you  are probably doing a few social norms as you read my post.

(for more information read the Wiki article on Norms,)

I'd like to give you a analysis of  the Social norm stated in the title.

   The Worship of  Pop Artist 

I'll start off by saying this has "NOTHING" to do with crazy Illuminati theories about the music artist themselves, this is all about the fans.

Regardless of your taste, or style, most of us listen to at least some form of music.  but for many who are deep into the pop music cultures, they seem to view music different than others. Perhaps Music to them is more like a practiced religion or faith,   Their devotion to music impact all types of social norms for them,  from the way they think, speak, dress etc.

 Devotion to the Artist

Have you ever told a friend or acquittance that you do not like a music artist that they on the other hand obsess over? , did they oust you afterwards?.   perhaps its more like they unknowingly follow the artist like members of a  cult, and anyone who does not "believe as they do is deemed  a heretic(non believer), or hater which is widely used in today's dialogue. I myself have been shunned for not agreeing the same with my peers on popular music artist, this could be a hint to how we are encouraged to partake in norms.

Lets say, if your a 12 year old girl who attends a new  public school in a urban or suburban area, and your trying to fit in socially.  Probably the last thing you would say to engage a crowd of other girls is, "Hey guys I'm new here! and btw I do not like Justin Beiber" (Even it was the truth for you)

So far as 12 year old boys? maybe a bit difficult to give a exact artist for their example, regardless of who,  it probably  has to be a rapper,  I'd say lil Wayne. I think I'll write this example in a even more comedic approach"

"Are you the average teenage boy trying to fit in at your school?  want to feel like you got status?  wealth?  and girls? well now you can!!  just pop in the latest Lil Wayne mix tape and your state of mind will change within the first weeks of listening!!!"   

Ironically, some of us hardly know  the content or meaning to some rap lyrics, but still if the artist is whats hot,  many will say "That artist is the Truth". Interesting, the artist is viewed of so much high status that even when we cant interpret what their words mean, they still are correct regardless?  well Isn't that how some people feel about the words of God?

Praising, even at home

When people like to show how much they adore a artist,  some will go to the extreme of collecting all merchandise related to the music star, even decorating their own living spaces with the what they purchased.
Question is, is this the room of a "biggest fan" or more like a Shrine?

Lyric Quoting 

It is common for those who are familiar with pages from their religious text to quote the readings if it relates to a current situation in life.  but from what I observed is many people who are pop music enthusiast will relate their current status to a lyric from one of their favorite artist

Of course for some, music is by no means a faith to us, it will remain just a feel good activity, pass time or life motivating. Still I believe that based on statistics, we are overwhelmed by too many crazed music fanatics  to not recognize that worshiping Music Stars like "Deities" is indeed a informal Social Norm In our society.
                                            (Kanye West, POWER)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Social Norms

By: Amanda Tadrzynski

In sociology courses, students learn about social norms. Social norms are actions and behaviors that are common and accepted in a society. For something to be a norm it has to be widely accepted and understood by the society. For example, giving up your seat on a public bus to an elderly person is considered a social norm. The action is known to many people in our society, and it is understood be to be the kind a generous thing to do. 

Norms can be described in four ways. First norms are described as formal or informal. Formal norms describe appropriate behavior, and have a punishment if a person acts inappropriately. These kinds of norms are usually written down, and include the laws of our society. Shoplifting is a type of formal norm, because it is considered illegal and there a consequences which can include jail time or fines. 

Informal norms are behaviors that many people are aware off and try to do, but do not have consequences if the norm is broken. For example, in our society it is considered polite to hold the door open for other people, and a large amount of people do hold door for other. However, other people do not, and while it is rude, there is no consequence of not following the norm. 

Norms are also described in their importance to society. When describing norms in this way, they can be called mores or folkways. Mores are norms that many people identify with and considered necessary for the society to survive because they are actions many people either cherish or are against. Each society wants to follow their mores, so very often mores are formal norms. Murder and child abuse are both examples of mores. 
Folkways are norms that control our everyday behavior. Folkways are important because they shape they shape how to people in a society behave. However, if these norms are broken few people will be concerned because these norms simply govern our everyday actions. Walking up the up escalator in a tore for example is a folkway. However, if someone walks down the up folkway it is an annoyance and breaks to norm, but will not result in anything negative such as being arrested. 

In this clip from Californication, one observes the breaking of a social norm. In the clip, one gentleman answers his cellphone in the middle of a movie, and begins talking loudly to his girlfriend. This of course annoys his fellow movie goers, and makes sit difficult for anyone to enjoy the movie. A fight breaks out between the cellphone user, and another man in the audience, resulting in the cellphone user being punched and knocked out. Once the cellphone user is knocked out, the audience claps for the other man because he took care of the norm breaker, and they can all go back to enjoying the movie. 

This clip is an example of social norms, because even though there is no law forbidding cellphone usage in movie theaters, it is a common practice for people to silence their phones while watching a movie. Because of the lack of consequences, talking on your phone while in a movie theater would be considered an informal and folkway norm. 

Norms are a large part of our society because they govern the way we act, and so many of us follow them. Many of our daily behaviors such as tipping waiters at restaurants, waiting in line, and dressing appropriately for a job interview are social norms that we learned and apply to our daily lives without thinking about them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rewards, Worth, and Functionalism

By:  Jamie Gusrang

In any introductory sociology course, students are taught about the three main sociological perspectives: conflict theory, functionalism, and symbolic interactionism. These perspectives seek to make sense of our complex social world. Of the three, it seems that functionalism is the most outdated and does not adequately address the growing inequality in our society.

Functionalists believe that society is a system made-up of interworking parts, and that each part is needed to keep society functioning. We each fulfill necessary social roles and are rewarded for our work according to how much we contribute to society.  In other words, if we're "worth" more to society, we are given greater rewards (i.e. pay, status, etc) for our work.  This may have been true at one time, but how would functionalists explain things like like cast of "Jersey Shore?"

Recent reports claim that cast-members make $30,000 an episode, far more than many working and even middle class people make in an entire year.  It would be hard to argue that these reality TV stars are "worth" more to society than police officers, firefighters, nurses, and teachers, which begs the question, are we really rewarded based on our worth, and is functionalism really relevant in the age of reality television, YouTube, and instant celebrity? While I'm not proposing we do away with reality TV or pay everyone the same salary, I am suggesting that as a culture, we reevaluate our priorities from time to time and really think about what we value and how we reward those within our society.