Gattaca and Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Star Trek: The Next Generation Pages: 6 (2271 words) Published: July 28, 2013
SOC 101/110

“Gattaca” is a movie about a man named Vincent who is born into a “new” society that uses genetics as the make-up for what social class you are given and will remain in, no matter what you do. Vincent is a “godchild”. He is born the “natural way”, without any genetic altering and his future is set for him as soon as he is conceived. His place in society is at the bottom of the social class and with all his “birth defects”, he seems to be placed even lower. He has poor eyesight and heart problems among many other things and is only given a life expectancy of around thirty years of age. He is denied the basics of life such as medical care and education. When his brother, Aton, is born through genetic alteration, Vincent becomes even more aware of his “differences” when even his own family begins to turn against him in hopes of furthering Aton to an even better social class than he has already been born into. His father tells him that he can never be an astronaut and that he should be helping his little brother to succeed. Despite Vincent’s dreams, he is a “godchild” and has no real future, until he meets a DNA broker who can, and does, change his life forever. In the movie “Gattaca” we see several terms and theories used in sociology that can be used to break down the movie into a sociological perspective of how life could be in the future.

A persons’ values are their ideas of what is important and desirable in life. For Vincent, he wants to be an astronaut. This is impossible because the society that Vincent has been placed into by his birth is one of menial labor. He is placed into a life of servitude and hopelessness. He can only dream of going to the stars. For him, his norms are menial labor and possibly a wife and kids but only if he can find a woman who is willing to accept him for his Invalid status. People in this movie go to a center where they can obtain potential mates’ life history and future in exchange for a DNA sample. This is an example of how people in this new society choose mates. Not by their charming personality or their good looks but by their DNA. This example of how this “new” society sees people is a good way of defining who these people think they are, that they can play God and chose the perfect mate when truly the perfect mate is not about genetics but about personality and the ability to love each other. Socialization is what makes us human. We socialize with those individuals who we feel will make us better people. Later in life, we strive to surround ourselves with people who have the same goals and desires as ourselves. This is human nature at its best and in the movie Vincent is forced to accept that his only socialization will be those of his “own kind”. Other “Invalids” who have been forced into jobs that will lead them no where. They are forced into these jobs because they were given little to no education. The rules that say he cannot be accepted into other positions because of his medical conditions. They feel that he would be a threat to their way of life, a chance they cannot risk. When his socializations changes after he becomes Jerome, he finds that “society” has a whole different set of rules for those considered Valid enough to live in their world.

Macro socialization looks at the broad focus of society. The society in Gattaca is focused on creating a perfect society where there is no disease, no disfigurations, and no mental illness. People who are not considered “Invalids” are slowly being weeded out by disgraceful mistreatment and little hopes of having a family because women want to marry a Valid, not an Invalid. Even Invalid women strive for this perfection, thinking that if they can marry a Valid they can have a better chance of having a Valid baby. Thus decreasing the chances of having their child live the life they had to lead. Everyone wants this perfect society and within the Invalids there are DNA brokers. People who...
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