Introductory Sociology/Soc. 1
Due R wk. 5 (4/30/2015)
Essay Assignment 1
20% of course grade
Many of us want social change of various kinds. However, there are barriers to that change, and some of the strongest barriers may be those that we don’t fully recognize - those inside ourselves. We say we want change. We say we are for curiosity, exploration, independence, and selfdetermination; yet when given the choice, most seem to choose the well-worn path of the status quo. We are likely to idealize the life of John, the savage, in Brave New World, but who among us would actually happily live John’s life? We are horrified and bewildered by some of the choices of Tobias Schneebaum, who has lived a more adventurous and independent life than most of us ever will. John and Schneebaum went against the grain. Most people say they want that too, but within our everyday lives, we tend to choose to maintain social order, on both a micro (everyday life) and macro (social institutional) level, perhaps because it can be so nervewracking to break the rules. It is excruciating, for example, to do “nothing” in the face of a world that demands goals and activity. Again and again, we choose the norm, yet say we want passion, liberation, and transformation. But if change is to happen, it must come from change in the everyday lives of our citizens, at least as much as from our social institutions.
So here’s the question: Given the tendency for humans to maintain the status quo - to maintain social order as it is, even while giving lip service to desire for “change” - what is the possibility for real social change? How would it happen, and what would it look like?
Deeply and carefully using a wide variety of course materials (including course readings, films, and your experiment), your essay should
1) explain the depth...
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