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The Overemphasis On Physical Appearance Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2182 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In what way can it be argued that an overemphasis on one’s physical appearance alienates individuals from themselves? Is the body part of the self or separate from the self?

To answer this question, first of all it is necessary to understand what physical appearance means for individuality, and how it influences on person’s self-image and self-perception. Person’s appearance is a meaning of his identity. Appearance is a expression of self-appraisal of person – in overall positive or a negative attitude. When self-appraisal is independent and autonomous, it does not dependent on external evaluations. But in most cases the person tries by the appearance to attract the attention of surrounding people, and show his inner world, the mood and character. 

Through the appearance person reveals his identity to a particular social class, individual lifestyle with his characteristic values, and, last but not least, interacts with various aspects of the social environment and changes them. A person can achieve his goals by manipulating the impression he makes on other people.

That is, appearance is a continuation of human’s inner world, so the body can not be separated from the spiritual and emotional side.

2. Several of the classical theorists believed that much of modern life has become objectified and rationalized. In addition to the areas of the body, celebrity, and medicine, in what other areas has modern life become objectified and rationalized?

Comparing the situation in contemporary culture and society that was a hundred years ago, many critics and theorists say that it has become objectified and rationalized. First of all this process is connected with the globalization, that has brought certain standards in the world.

Globalization has led to fundamental changes in the relationship between folk, elite and mass culture, it lowered the status of the culture as it was before. At the same time it brought mass culture, turning it into a leading element of a cultural system of post-industrial society. The mass culture is like a substitute designed to meet the lowbrow tastes of poorly educated population.

3. Is it possible to effectively untie the rational and irrational, mental and emotional dimensions of life to create a more humane society? Why or why not? Should social theorists even be concerned about such an issue?

Rationality – one of the most important concepts of philosophy, sociology and psychology.

The characteristic of our time is a neglect of rationality, that is mainly due to the uncertainty in the use of this notion. What is rational and what is irrational?

Rationality, like morality, is essential characteristic of behavior. It is important to distinguish between the rational and irrational behavior. An important feature of the actions that is called irrational or rationally forbidden (rationally prohibited), is that virtually no one would support people to commit these acts, on the contrary, they would have tried to convince not to do so. To call something rational or rationally acceptable does not mean to endorse all of this, in these words there is only one modal nuance of “lack of conviction.”

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Many people want to draw a clear line between facts and values, rational and irrational. If you get rid of the irrational motives, it means the mental control of reason over the behavior, which requires adherence to specific actions, conditions, programs, limiting the freedom of thought. However, the above indicates that such a clear distinction is impossible, because rationality is in some way a subjective judgment.

4. What are the long-term implications of the open sale of human organs for social unity and divisiveness in the United States?

The problem of sale of human organs is a matter of division of society into two views for and against. Also, this issue has two problems:

– A rapid withdrawal of transplantation at the level of mass practice;

– An equally rapid growth of the declarations and documents of ethics adopted by professional associations, regulations and new laws, which develops and offers modern law and adopt modern nations of Europe and America, Asia and Africa.

Modern transplant did not create utopian concepts, but wants to reach the level of ethical rules and standards of sale of human organs. They see a direct connection between the progressive development of transplantation and overcoming of social psychological barrier in the form of traditional religious culture, with its system of rituals and attitudes towards death. They believe that the success of transplantation is possible only in conditions of developed and prepared public opinion, that shall have absolute humanistic values across the range of practices of organ transplantation. Changing spiritual situation in the society, the democratization of social consciousness, which centered on the idea of human rights, led to a change in measures of responsibility for human life. The increase in moral pluralism, the need for ethical and legal controls on the experimental research, medicalization of life, the globalization of bioethical issues – all this makes urgent the task of further development of the social problems of bioethics, which includes the issue of trade of human organs.

5. What are the most insightful or useful measures of class position? Why? How does inequality on each of these measures affect the lives of individuals?

The recent trend in democratic industrialized countries of the world is increasing social mobility, that improve the status to representatives of every individual groups in society combined with the persistence of their unequal socio-economic position. Subordination of the major social groups, their division into superior and inferior position reflects the concept of “social class”.

Social classes are usually distinguished from other on the basis of their economic situation, the stability of the social situation of their representatives, difficulty of social mobility, the transition from the lowest class in the highest, as well as the multiplicity of their representatives. All this makes them significant and sometimes define the measures of class position. Most measures of class position are aimed at influencing the process of social inequality and convergence status positions of the general population of industrialized countries, because the formation of the middle class does not negate the existence of traditional class position and the stratification of differences. (Delaney, 2003)

6. What evidence is there to assess the adequacy and/or inadequacy of Marx’s predications about the relationship between workers and larger employers?

Many of the ideas on social inequalities derived from the Marxist theory of stratification and class. The mode of production determines the economic organization of each formation. Marx believed the economic organization of the main aspect of society. It includes a technology division of labor and, most importantly, a relationship formed between people in the production system. These relationships play a key role in the Marxist concept of class. 

Marx argued that in any type of economic organization is the ruling class, which owns the means of production (factories, raw materials, etc.) and provides control over them. Due to the economic power of the ruling class decides the fate of those who are working for him. (Berberoglu, 2005)

Marx thought that workers would see that they were exploited – this would lead to a deep, inescapable conflict between workers and owners. Marx predicted that with the development of capitalism, the bourgeoisie would become richer, and the proletariat – poorer. The conflict would intensify, and in the end the workers would make a revolution, the revolution would be worldwide, leading to the overthrow of capitalism and the transition to socialism. 

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Marx’s prediction was wrong: capitalism has not led to results that he expected. First of all, government and the capitalists themselves began to pay more attention to the needs and demands of the workers due to political pressure and through the system of collective bargaining: now workers in the U.S. have high salaries and bonuses, in addition, they receive unemployment benefits.

7. What parallels exists in the ideologies used to maintain different racial and gender categories as separate status groups? What is your position on Durkheim’s prediction that the use of race and gender for positioning individuals in occupations will be eliminated someday?

One of the earliest explanations of inequality due to gender or race was proposed by Emile Durkheim. In the paper “On the division of social labor” (1893) Durkheim concluded that in all societies, some activities are considered more important than others. In a society highly valued the achievement of religious salvation, that was characteristic of Puritans in colonial times. Another company may consider the social value of material wealth. All the functions of society – law, religion, family, work, etc. can form a hierarchy according to how highly they are valued.

This view is expressed by Durkheim in his famous remark: 

“When I realize my duty brother, husband or a citizen, then I perform the obligations prescribed by law and custom and which are external to me and my actions… Similarly, a believer from birth detects in the ready-made form of beliefs and practices of religious life and, if they existed before him. Therefore, they exist outside of it. The system of symbols that I use. aphid expression, monetary system, which I use for payment of debts, credit facilities, which I use in their commercial activities, procedures which I follow because of their profession – all these and similar things operate, regardless of my usage. In turn, if we turn to each member of society, then those comments are true for each of them”. (Durkheim, 1964)

I don’t agree with his position, because “society” – is a set of multiple identities? If we study a certain group, we see not a collective entity, but only a group of individuals interacting with each other in different ways.

8. Discuss the common threads in the arguments on inequality found in each of the classical theorists. On what do they agree of disagree?

In contemporary Western, especially American, sociology, social scientists hold several opposing views on inequality. At the heart of the functionalist theories is the idea that some activities the society considers it more important than others. Proponents of these theories, inequality is a means of ensuring public confidence in the fact that such activities, carried out the most qualified individuals. 

Supporters of Conflictological theories suggest that inequality is due to more favorable position of those who control the social wealth. Their views are based on the theory of classes and social stratification, designed by Karl Marx. According to this theory, the economic system of any society creates two main classes, one of which operates or controls the other. (Berberoglu, 2005)

In the concept of stratification, Weber identifies three factors: wealth, prestige and power. These factors are often but not always interact. The theory of stratification based on the criteria Warner reputation of people within the community. According to this theory, belong to a particular social class is determined by the members of the community. (Berberoglu, 2005)

In the functional approach we can point out the theory of middle class (or the new middle) class ( Aron, Daniel Bell and others). Theories of the middle class were a reflection of the quantitative growth of the officials, intellectuals, managers, enhancing social protection and education of workers and several other groups, as well as the convergence of income, consumption and lifestyles of the general population. According to followers of the theory of the middle class, this process led to the elimination of traditional class distinctions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the social formation of a new social groups, encompassing and unifying value pain majority of the population of industrialized countries – it’s the middle class is. This includes individuals who possessing family income, education, prestige role in life, lifestyle and identify themselves with this group of society. 

 According to exit polls, in Western countries for more than half the population (70-80%) identify themselves as middle class. Formation of the middle class society provides a high level of social homogeneity, smooths or even eliminate class conflicts, helps to reconcile the positions of parties, trade unions, etc. (Berberoglu, 2005)


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