Sociological Perspective on the New Guinea Cargo Cult

Topics: Sociology, Karl Marx, The White Man's Burden Pages: 3 (897 words) Published: June 1, 2005
The New Guinea cargo plane cult from a functionalist perspective stresses that the un-industrialization of the cult is due to the developed world not sharing technological advances with the tribe (cult). The tribe leader's ability to explain the purpose of the cargo planes and the tribe's inability to succeed with riches like that of the white man had a large affect on the tribe's belief system. The tribes simple way of life was disturbed by the discovery of cargo planes in the sky, shocking whatever beliefs the tribe had prior to that discovery. It was the conclusion of the leaders or elders of the community that the planes where gifts from there ancestors and that their inability to succeed like other cultures was do to the white man coxing the plane to land in their fields, therefore stealing the riches that the cults ancestors sent to them. The manifest function of the leaders needing to explain what was happening was do to the culture shock the tribe received when the first saw the planes, while however the latent function of the of this was to keep the tribe unified through ignorance. It was the only way to keep a small community of confused people together do to the fact that people do not like to be separated from the people whom they've become familiar with. Though the manifest functions of adoring the cargo planes proves to be a shift of blame from the tribe leaders to the white man, the latent function has proved to unify the tribe in faith and in their daily walk of life. Solidarity is their shining light of hope in a world that has left them, however to analyze a group of people from a sociological perspective one must provide more than one perspective. Karl Marx developed the conflict theory and concluded that "the key to human history is class struggle. In every society, some small group controls the means of production and exploits those who are not in control (Henslin,2004 pg.15)". According to Karl Marx "authority that people consider...
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