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society [2016/06/15 00:15]
ryans [Is social theory necessary pessimistic?]
society [2016/07/21 18:37] (current)
ryans
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 Although scholars differ on how they conceptualize society, there is a key way in which social scientists'​ use of the concept differs from other uses.  Although scholars differ on how they conceptualize society, there is a key way in which social scientists'​ use of the concept differs from other uses. 
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 +* **A society is like a machine.** it has many specialized parts. Each part of the machine fits together with other parts, like gears in a clock, to make the whole machine work. Put another way, **a social system is also like a living organism.** It can also be explained as a system of organs that all depend on each other. But an organism is also more than the sum of its parts.
  
 * A society is **__not__ like a building**. This is a mistaken way to think about society. A building has a structure of walls and floors that divide up space. People in the building can only move around in certain ways. To go from one room to another, they have to go through a door. To go from one floor to another, they have to climb stairs. So, a building constrains the movement of people inside it. A society does often feel like this to people inside it, so I think that's why it is common to conceptualize society as being simply a rigid, fixed structure that limits what individuals do. * A society is **__not__ like a building**. This is a mistaken way to think about society. A building has a structure of walls and floors that divide up space. People in the building can only move around in certain ways. To go from one room to another, they have to go through a door. To go from one floor to another, they have to climb stairs. So, a building constrains the movement of people inside it. A society does often feel like this to people inside it, so I think that's why it is common to conceptualize society as being simply a rigid, fixed structure that limits what individuals do.
  
-**A society is more like a machine.** it has many specialized partsEach part of the machine fits together with other parts, like gears in a clock, to make the whole machine work. Put another way, **a social system is also like a living organism.** It can also be explained as system of organs that all depend on each otherBut an organism is also more than the sum of its parts.+//But here's the tricky part...// One of the specialized elements of a social system is its "​structure." Social machines do need solid frame to hold things together, and all the functioning parts of society ​depend on this being thereUsing the metaphor of an organism, the "​structure"​ would be the bones and skin. An organism is not just its bones and skin, though. It also has to have systems ​of circulation,​ digestion, respiration,​ etc
  
-//​Here'​s the tricky part...// One of the specialized elements of a social system ​is its "​structure."​ Social machines do need solid frame to hold things together, and all the functioning parts of society depend on this being thereUsing the metaphor ​of an organism, the "​structure"​ would be the bones and skinAn organism ​is not just its bones and skinthough. It also has to have systems of circulationdigestion, respiration,​ etc+I think many people assume that society ​is more like building, and I do see an appealing aspect to that. At least with that metaphor, you can imagine how an individual relates to the social wholeIn the building ​metaphor, ​individuals live inside ​the building. It might limit how they act, but the building-society gives them shelterAgain, it is easy to think this waybecause this is really what it feels like to be a member of society. It's looking at the social system from the perspective of the individuals in it. But that's not the whole story. We also have to look at society from the top-downfrom a bird's eye view of the whole
  
-There is an appealing aspect of thinking of society like a building. At least with that metaphor, you can imagine how an individual relates to the social whole. In the building metaphor, individuals live inside the building. It might limit how they act, but the building-society gives them shelter. Again, it is easy to think this way, because this is really what it feels like to be a member of society. But it's not the whole story. ​Human beings are mortal, but societies are immortal. A society continues to function even as old people die and new people are born to take their place. Even as a society grows and changes over time, there'​s still some part of that system that is always the same. This is why the machine metaphor is better. When we step back from the experience of being in society and see the whole machine as a functional whole, then we can see what individuals really do for society. They are its fuel. (Or, in the organism metaphor, its food.) Society uses individuals as raw material. The actions of individuals animate society and make it work. Ultimately, this raw material serves to perpetuate the whole social machine.+Human beings are mortal, but societies are immortal. A society continues to function even as old people die and new people are born to take their place. Even as a society grows and changes over time, there'​s still some part of that system that is always the same. This is why the machine metaphor is better. When we step back from the experience of being in society and see the whole machine as a functional whole, then we can see what individuals really do for society. They are its fuel. (Or, in the organism metaphor, its food.) Society uses individuals as raw material. The actions of individuals animate society and make it work. Ultimately, this raw material serves to perpetuate the whole social machine.
  
 In other words, societies are systems. They are made up of parts, and all the parts are connected to form one whole. The parts depend on each other. Social analysis means looking at one thing, one type of behavior or idea in a society, and placing it in a larger social contexts. That means seeing it as a part of a larger whole. ​ In other words, societies are systems. They are made up of parts, and all the parts are connected to form one whole. The parts depend on each other. Social analysis means looking at one thing, one type of behavior or idea in a society, and placing it in a larger social contexts. That means seeing it as a part of a larger whole. ​
society.txt ยท Last modified: 2016/07/21 18:37 by ryans