The Gods Must Be Crazy Sociological Analysis
Rarely do you find a film both intelligent and entertaining like “The Gods Must Be Crazy”. The film is a collision of the individual journeys of three separate groups: the journey of Xi, the bushman, traveling to the end of the earth to get rid of a Coca-Cola bottle; the growing relationship between Kate Thompson, a school teacher, and Andrew Steyn, a clumsy scientist; and the actions of a band of terrorist led by Sam Boga. One day, a Coca-Cola bottle drops from the sky and lands unbroken near the temporary home of the bushman. The bushman family, completely isolated from humanity, has never seen such a thing and perceive it as a gift from the gods. Although the object proves to have many uses, its singularity becomes the source of jealousy, anger and violence. Xi decides to banish this “evil thing” forever since it has caused so much unhappiness. At the same time, former news reporter Kate Thompson decides to change her life and become a school teacher in an African village. In order to arrive at the village, Kate has to endure the experience of staying overnight in the Kalahari due to the clumsy antics of her driver, Andrew Steyn, and a dysfunctional vehicle aptly named ‘the Antichrist’. Their relationship grows through their various experiences. Meanwhile, Sam Boga is leading a pact of terrorists in violent attempt of revolution. These three different story-lines merge in a conflict in which Xi and Andrew must rescue a group of school children along with their teacher, Kate, who are being held hostage by Sam Boga. This very entertaining and thought-provoking film provides perfect examples of the three sociological theories. These theories are widely accepted frameworks that sociologists have created in order to answer the question ‘What keeps a society together?’ Moreover, the frameworks help us analyze social change and development. Each individual plot line in this movie is driven by change; therefore the three sociological frameworks, which are social functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism, are supportive in assessing the film’s story-lines. Firstly, Xi’s experiences are best explained by structural functionalism. Through the motivation of the terrorists, the conflict theory becomes very apparent. And finally, the budding romance between Kate and Andrew shows how society uses symbolic interactionism.
To begin, structural functionalism concludes that a society is a system composed of structures or institutions that perform in harmony so as to maintain order in society. This theory is best represented by Xi the bushman and his experiences. According to social functionalism, the family plays a major role in society. In Xi’s society, family is the one and only institution. Everyone in the family knows their role and they work together in harmony to live through each day. The family works as a cohesive unit, and since it’s the only known function in society to these people their society runs flawlessly. The society is so cohesive that it is too unusual for most modern ‘civilized’ people to understand. They have no words for anger, hate or conflict. Through the function of the family these values are passed down to children, ensuring a stable and cohesive society, set on order, which is what social functionalism strives to achieve. Although social functionalism lives on order and harmony, they also analyze the question ‘What social event is interrupting specific functions of the institution?’ In Xi’s case, the undoubted corruption to his peaceful society came along with the Coke bottle that dropped out of the sky. The Coke bottle was the instigator of change. Up until this point, the bushmen had no sense of ownership because there was nothing to own other than the trees and the earth. The singularity of the Coke bottle brought up unknown feelings of selfishness, ownership and greed. It disrupted the sharing function of the family, and in cases escalated...
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