The Dynamics of One Community: Honduras
The Dynamics of One Community: Honduras
Honduras is a country formed by different types of cultures, both indigenous and city cultures. Even though this is the case, this small Central American country is affected by the same social problems as a whole. In order to understand Honduras’ present, it is important to know some history of the country that have influenced how Honduran society is today. Honduras was part of Spain’s empire during colonialism, causing the country to lose most of its riches in gold and the indigenous population. In 1821, Honduras gained its independence from Spain and entered a period of political uncertainty. The 1900’s were the age of military rule, until the first elected civilian came to power in 1982. The country was then shattered by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, killing around 5,600 people and causing $2 billion in damage. Since then the economy has not developed as fast as it could (CIA: The World Factbook: Honduras 292). In addition, a coup d’état occurred on June 2009 to overthrow communist President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and the international community sanctioned Honduras economically for around 6 months. Evidently, Honduras has a difficult past, hence a very difficult present. The major problems in Honduran society start within families, and then transmit to the economy, which affects work and created poverty. Consequently public education and health is really bad, causing crime rates to skyrocket. These problems are very closely related and it is essential to understand how they affect Honduran economy. The problems aforementioned can be viewed and analyzed through the different perspectives learned in class, especially the conflict perspective because it involves conflict between groups and interests, class-consciousness, and the power elite and class identity. Further on these social problems will be identified and explained in Honduran society and will be linked to the different perspectives learned in class. Family is considered to be the most vital social construct in Honduras. People are highly socially and economically dependent on their families. Family loyalty is fundamental for Honduran society. As a child one is taught which relatives can be trusted and those outside the family are strangers. As the functionalist perspective on family explains, family confers social status and class and defines who we are and how we find our place in society. This applies directly to Honduran society because, as the country studies from the Library of Congress explains, “the extend to which families [in Honduras] interact… depends on their degree of prosperity. Families with relatively equal resources share and cooperate” (Merrill: Family). In depth, it is evident that if family relationships fail, the bases of a Honduran’s life disappear, making it difficult for these cases to do well in life. To support this claim, the functionalist perspective can once again be applied, as it states that “Family provides for the essential needs of the child: affection, socialization, and protection” (Leon-Guerrero 170). When these needs are not fulfilled, a child might find if hard to be successful in life. With that said, it is important to know that families in Honduras today are mostly broken. The major reason for this failure is the old patriarchal views and traditions still accepted in Honduran society. This old view on gender allows men to have several children with different wives, play dominant roles and superiority over women, violate women rights, and have power over family economics and decisions (Merrill: Family). Men are virtually allowed to be unfaithful to their wives, beat them, and do with them as they please. This is obviously not the case in more developed parts of Honduras, but applies to most rural and countryside locations. Marriage might be a solution or an aggravator to this problem. The three accepted...
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