Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween - holiday for Freaks and Geeks?

Episode 3 of Freaks and Geeks (click here to watch it on mediacast) highlights some different aspects of sociology and socialization. Look at how Lindsay and her brother are influenced by their mom to think about the holiday. We also see the peer pressure from their friends take them into two different directions: Sam influences his friends to dress up and embrace the holiday while Lindsay is influenced by her friends to go out with them and cause trouble instead of hanging out with her mom. With a careful analysis we also see the influence of religion, the media and school.

Another interesting dynamic in the episode is what sociologists call socialization through the lifecourse; that is, how people are influenced differently throughout their life. For example, when you are a kid you are influenced to dress up and trick or treat and then when you are an adult you are supposed to act differently. What we see in the episode is the difficulty in being a teen and not really being a kid who can embrace Halloween but not yet being considered a mature adult. This unknowing of what is expected of you is called role strain. We see this most obviously in the teen years. Are you supposed to be a kid or a mature adult?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Volunteer Op: Volunteer for a candidate

Another option for your service hours is political volunteering.  Stevenson will be hosting a campaign fair on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 5th from 7-9 pm.  We will feature the staffs of the governors' campaigns to recruit student workers for this winter and spring.  We'll also have campaign staffers from Rep. Brad Schneider, former-Rep. Bob Dold, 10th Cong Dems, Lake County Young Republicans and the Illinois Fair Map gerrymandering reform group.

Plus, we'll serve complimentary pizza.  Click here to rsvp. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Human Nurture

Besides starting surprisingly early, nurture also plays a surprisingly powerful role in our development.  One example is studying the differences in identical twins; they have the same DNA, genes and biology; the same nature but they are different.  It is amazing to me that so much of what we take for granted as being human (part of our nature) is actually learned from our environment (nurture). The video above is about a girl named Genie that was locked in a bedroom alone for 12 years of her life is one small piece of evidence of the power of social experiences on individuals. Here is what Susan Curtiss wrote about her in her book Genie; A Psycholinguistic Study of a Modern-Day Wild Child. 

Genie was pitiful. Hardly ever having worn clothing, she did not react to temperature, either heat or cold. Never having eaten solid food, Genie did not know how to chew and had great difficulty in swallowing.  Having been strapped down and left sitting on a potty chair she could not stand erect, could not straighten her arms or legs, could not run hop, jump or climb.  In fact she could only walk with difficulty shuffling her feet and swaying from side to side. Hardly ever having seen more than a space of ten feet in front of her she had become nearsighted to exactly that distance....Surprisingly, however, Genie was alert and curious. She maintained good eye contact and...She was intensely eager for human contact. 

You can also check out this website for examples of feral children. This website, though sad, provides further evidence for the importance of human nurturing in socializing individuals to their full human potential. How have you been shaped by the experiences of your life?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Norms cont'd

Today we continued our discussion of Norms by reviewing what a folkway, more, and taboo are.  Then we examined the videoes from the posts below to make the point that mores are really important but they are not necessarily laws.  However they shape how we think about who we are.  Norms (and culture) affect our feelings, actions, and thoughts (The social construction of reality).

Also, this is IMPORTANT we assigned two assignments that are in your packet:

A reading called Kohl's American values is due this friday.

An assigment/experiment is due next thursday.