U.S. society a century

In analyzing the nature of United States today, we can use the sociological theories conceptualized by Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber which is the Conflict Theory, Functionalism and Interpretive Theory, respectively. Conflict Theory simply explains the relationship between the capitalists and the workers. The capitalist is the owner of the means of production. The main objective of a capitalist is to make more profit as possible and with this Karl Marx made the concept of alienation and exploitation. The theory is named conflict because of the conflict between the capitalists and the proletariats.
Proletariats are the workers; they are the one being exploited in exchange for a high profit income of the capitalist. On the other hand, Functionalism of Emile Durkheim explains the society as a single entity that if one is not functional then the whole entity will not function. Society is said to be driven by their similarities and differences. This tells us that the whole entity can perform different functions that cannot be performed by only its parts. Interrelationships among members of the society are the main focus of functionalism.
There must be a mutual interdependence on all aspects of society so that it would function well. Lastly, the Interpretive Theory of Max Weber simply explains the society in deep understanding and interpretation of mundane activities and their meaning. Basically, it is the interpretive understanding of the society by carefully analyzing their causal relationships and consequences. Rationalization of the society through the events that happen in our daily lives is being the determinant of how the people under that certain society would act.

For the case of America, Marx would look on how the economic trend of America is being achieved and how to show how conflict-driven the country is. For Durkheim, America would be analyzed according to the collective conscience the people have unconsciously been constructed. Lastly for Weber, America would be analyzed by the rationalization of social action based on status and privileges.
Frank, E. (1996). The Sociology of Max Weber. Retrieved on November 11, 2007 from http://www. faculty. rsu. edu/~felwell/Theorists/Weber/Whome. htm


Search of Identity in Society

Identity can be generally defined as the personal characteristics and traits which differentiate each individual from the other, however in “The myth of the Latin woman: I just met a girl named Maria” by Cofer, Judith Ortiz and “The joy of reading and writing: superman and me” by Alexei Sherman, both authors demonstrate the theme identity in a different manner. Judith Cofer portrays how the society often stereotype individuals into groups without a doubt, in this particular essay, the offensive stereotype of Latino women without any particular reason but merely due to their identity.
Alexei Sherman in “The joy of reading and writing: superman and me” also describes how society can have an impact on one’s identity; however Alexei was determined to build himself and challenge the society despite of its expectations. Similarities in this particular comparison overcome the differences; the similarities which are clearly seen between these two short stories are how the society belittles people and stereotype them simply due to their identity. Another common theme between both stories is multiculturalism and how it’s faced.
The difference however is how each author dealt with this stereotyping and how they defined their own identity despite of how people interrupted it for them. Expectations can alter the way a person feels about living their life the way they desire. Society determines and expects a role that every individual must perform according to who they are such as: age, gender, race, ethnic etc. In the essay the “The joy of reading and writing: superman and me”, the author talks about his life as an Indian boy and how writing and reading shaped his life to what it is today.

Sherman talks about how as an Indian boy living in a reservation in the United States, Indians were expected to fail and be uneducated; but because he was “smart, arrogant and lucky” he broke the mold and became a creative writer. In Cofer’s case there were no mold’s to be broken but merely society’s perception about Latinas. She collects all the misconceptions of Latin women, comparing them with her personal experiences Our perception of anything can change and the way we view our selves can sometimes be altered by the events that happen in our life, our self-image and self-esteem can be also altered by these events too.
Cofer, in her autobiographical short story describes how she feels like an object of sexual desire and a person of lower class because of her Puerto Rican ethnicity. She starts the essay by reliving an incident which happened to her with a drunken man who re-enacted “Maria” from West Side Story even though she was aggravated, she tried to keep her cool when everyone around her was laughing and applauding. The author shows how the society degrades her because she is simply Latina regardless of the fact that is she an educated women seeking knowledge from Oxford university.
Later she states, “I do not wear my diplomas around my neck”- By this Cofer implies that there are many other women exactly like her, Latin women who do have the advantage of an education, however other individuals within societies racial misconceptions lead them to believe that every Latin woman is either a “housemaid” or a “counter girl”- which is obviously not the case. Cofer continues to subjectively analyses and defends the negative stereotypes that Latin women encounter.
Since something can be natural in a determined culture and offensive in another, it is easy to find a variety of behaves that are misunderstood. This misunderstood is what promotes the existence of prejudice. She collects all the misconceptions of Latin women, comparing them with her personal experiences. Eventually the author tries to deliver a message, a “universal truth”, is to try to replace the old pervasive stereotypes, individuals should not be judged entirely due to their place of origin, “skin color, accent or cloths” but should be seen for who they truly are.
Cofer emphasizes that “we cannot change this (the myth of Latina as whore, domestic or criminal) by legislating the way people look at us the transformation, as I see it, has to occur at a much more individual level”. Again this is something which is also seen in Sherman’s essay and it’s evident from his writing. Sherman says he saw the world in paragraphs, this is a metaphoric term he created.


The Role of Men in Society Has Transformed Immensely

The role of men in society has transformed immensely. According to Dr. Phil, if men want to be successful in their marriage and family life, they have to change and broaden their definition of what it means to be successful as a man. Being a good provider, protector, leader and teacher is a privilege that comes with responsibilities that many men aren’t aware of. A Provider Most men believe that being a good provider means supporting a family financially. It means much more than that. A man should also contribute to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being of his family.
In order to do this, he must recognize that there are other currencies, in addition to money, that need to be provided. A Protector This means more than beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife. It means protecting her self-esteem and self-worth as well as your children’s. It can also mean protecting your way of life and guarding against any threats to the things that you and your family value. A Leader Instead of waiting for your wife to take the initiative when you are having problems, take the lead. Get in the game and create what you want in your family instead of whining about your family situation.
Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership. It’s a 100/100 partnership. That means you give 100 percent. And remember, you get what you give. A Teacher What are you teaching those around you — especially your children — with your behavior? It’s important to provide a good example for your children, loved ones and community with both words and deeds. Set high standards and teach by doing. The traditional roles of men and women were established to ensure the power of the head of household. Historically speaking, that head of household was always male.

But the rapidly developing world has brought about many changes into the traditional roles of both men and women. We have been socialized to expect men to be brave, industrious and domineering, whereas women have been expected to be submissive, timid and nurturing. Nowadays, however, women do not have to rely on their husbands anymore to provide a financial support for the home and in many cases they become breadwinners and head of the home themselves. Thus, these changes have resulted in male losing his image and ego as the dominant gender in society.
First of all, it is not possible to talk about the changing role of men without mentioning the transformation that the female role has come through. The contemporary social situation was caused in large degree by women anticipation and making them more “equal” to men. Females are not forced to stay at home nursing children and making diners, they are free to go to work and pursue a successful career. And even if a woman chances to bear a child, now she is encouraged to return to work as early as possible and in fact reproved if she does not.
Therefore, in many cases men are expected to take over the duties of a housewife. Before long, it is men who do the everyday laundry, it is men who prepare children for school and pick them up afterwards, it is men who cook dinners and sew a button onto a worn out shirt. Especially if the woman’s career happens to be more successful and profitable. Hence, the purpose of men as the ‘alpha male’, provider and protector within the family unit and the community as a whole, has become obscured and belittled. The vision between roles of men and women became blurred, leaving modern men in state of bewilderment.
It is also key to look at the way in which the role of man as strong and masculine has become cliche. On the one hand, the stereotype of a strong, hunky, masculine man straight from the Marlboro advertisements falls into decline. Brutal, strong and ruthless men were long ago vigorously condemned. However, the new type of a man – gentle, sensitive, caring, grooming himself, not being afraid of giving vent to his feelings, a man who, when in need, will put on his shoulders the burden of taking care of house and children – still evokes mixed feelings due to making the impression of being too feminine.
There are however opinions that men simply live up to the women’s expectations. The survey carried out last year asked men what it means to be a man in the 21st century, and “more than half think that society tries to feminize them, turning them into waxed and coiffed metrosexuals, and 52 per cent say that men have to live according to women’s rules. ” In the 90s the perception of a man was changing more than ever. The androgynous look was desired, and models who displayed womanly characteristics had more jobs than those looking like Brad Pitt.
On account of that more and more males were following the trend of metrosexualism. Recently, it has been taken into extremes, where wearing a pink jumper is not perceived gay anymore, but rather as a manifestation of masculinity. Only men who do not show an exaggerated concern for their manliness and feel self-confident are not afraid to see themselves in pink. But it is not only the fashion trend that pushes men to pay more attention to their appearance, getting their nails polished by professional beauticians, or to step into shoes of “the lady of the house. It is in fact the lack of proper male models to copy. Let’s face it. Schools, places on which the life of every adolescent focuses, are overcrowded with female teachers. Thus, unlike their female peers, and during their formative developmental period, the young males have little opportunity to experience positive male role models. In consequence, when seeking some ideal to conform to boys tend to choose the person that guides them throughout most of their lives, and who unsurprisingly often happens to be the mother.
Accordingly, men are desperately needed in all aspects of society to provide the male perspective. The blurred vision between the roles of men and women as well as more tolerant and modern society allowed women to take up jobs which were in the past years reserved only for men, and reversely. Men also go for jobs earmarked for women, such as dancers, hairdressers, even beauticians, and very often happen to be very successful. This does not mean that they are gay or effeminate. This is just another aspect of the evolution of society and meeting the needs of professional tolerance.
All in all, the male role has not changed drastically in contemporary society. Looking from the angle of functionality, it is men in who we rest our hopes for holding power and solving everyday life issues. For this reason the majority of population still considers men the only breadwinners even though the reality evolved to the extent that is not necessarily true. Men’s behavior has changed, their lifestyles as well, and their roles might also have gone some major transformations. But none of that matters, after all, sensitive, vulnerable women will always need beside them a shoulder to cry on.


The Dream of a New Society: Why Paul Berman Was Right

The year 1968 and the immediately preceding years were one of the most tumultuous times of the twentieth century. There were protests and uprisings in all corners of the globe, for many different reasons: the Soviet Union was in its post-Stalin era and tensions with the United States were high. When the USSR placed nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962, it raised the hairs on the neck of the US and ignited the Cuban Missile Crisis.China was in the midst of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Duiker 269), where Mao Zedong struggled to keep balance in his Communist regime. Czechoslovakia was making its way through Prague Spring, a short lived state of euphoria brought on by the diminished strictness of government ruling that lead to a Soviet invasion (Duiker 198).
In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement was at its peak and students at universities across the nation we protesting the US governments decision to use Vietnam as a “muscle flexing” outlet to display its “manliness” (Suri 318).Not only in the United States, but around the world, university students made clear their dissatisfaction with the way contemporary leaders were shaping the world. Jeremi Suri’s The Global Revolutions of 1968 detail all of these events, but also provide three different interpretations of all of these events: Paul Berman’s The Dream of a New Society, Arthur Marwick’s The Consummation of a Cultural Revolution, and Suri’s own Power and Protest. Marwick focuses more on the cultural aspect of the revolutions, how the protests of 1968 reshaped the world culturally.I found this to be somewhat credible, but his theory had flaws. Suri blames the protests of 1968 on “contradiction between idealistic claims and stagnant politics among state leaders” (Suri 316). While there is some truth to this, I do not see that as the sole cause of the worldwide political unrest.
It was Berman’s ideology that there were four different (though related) revolutions that did not produce considerable change at the time, but laid the framework for later change, that I found to be the most convincing interpretation of the revolutions of 1968.According to Berman, “ four enormous revolutions were roiling the world at that one moment, each of those revolutions different in nature and purpose from the others, each of them far too huge and unprecedented for anyone, no matter how old and experienced, to comprehend at the time” (Berman 302). These four revolutions were a revolt against communist regimes, a revolt against western imperialism, student protests (anti-war, civil rights), and a spiritual movement.The first revolution, or as Berman calls them “the student uprisings” (Berman 302) was essentially a battle between old and new, “… the insurrections that were sexual, feminist, and gay… the noisy entrance of the first mass group of African-American students into the previously segregated American universities, the slightly crazy effort to raise insubordination into a culture, to eat, dress, smoke, dance differently” (Berman 302). Berman refers to the second revolution as a cousin of the first, as it deals with the spiritual uprising that took place around the country. In today’s time we recognize this as the time of the hippie.This revolution took all the idea of challenging the norm and applied it to a more spiritual level, mixing Buddhism, poetry, transcendentalism, folklore, psychedelic mind expansions (drugs), and “God knows what else” (Berman 302).

This wave of change was not solely contained to philosophy, but even made its mark (significantly) on the music scene as well. In this instance, the word spiritual does not solely apply to the new bohemian lifestyle. This spiritual revolution shone light into many, many more aspects of the world than just the university towns; it was large enough to even shake the establishment of the Catholic Church.Revolutions three and four are described as “strictly this-worldly” (Berman 303). The first was the revolution against Western imperialism, and was coming to a peak in 1968. Communism was spreading like wildfire throughout the corners of the world and there was nothing that the free West could do to stop it; it had finally met its match. As they say, drastic times call for drastic measures, and that is the approach the West (primarily the United States) took to stop what was seen as an impending doom to the free world.
This did not sit well with these new found bohemians and intellectuals, a conflict of interest that sparked Berman’s third revolution. The final revolution is one on the other side of the looking glass from the third revolution; those under communist rule desired leftist governments without the inconvenience of Soviet Communism. With the brief taste of freedom received during the Prague Spring, Communism’s defeat, for the first time, seemed very possible. This all seems immensely large, when you think about it. But Berman describes the sensation of these revolutions to a tee (in my opinion): It was the new society coming into being.That was the source of our exhilaration… For something useful was bound to come of those many uprisings. Maybe not a revolution in the major sense; but a revolution in the minor sense.
Maybe not an entirely new society; but not the rickety old social system that already existed, either. Such was the spirit of 1968. It led to a very peculiar aftermath, visible and invisible, during the next decades (Berman 305). In short, it would certainly be incorrect to say that these revolutions were irrelevant in their time; they shook the world in ways it had never been shaken before.But, Berman’s point is that although it was shaken, or exhilarated, the effects and consequences of what happened in 1968 would not fully be seen or understood until the following decades. It is this very reason that convinced me that Berman’s interpretation was the most convincing: logic leads me to think that every action has a reaction, but to also keep in mind that these reactions are not always instant and clear. Berman’s concept of the revolutions implies that the full effect of 1968 is finally felt twenty years later (Berman 308).
If we take a broad look at that immediate time period, the most obvious and major event that occurred was the dissolution of the Soviet Union. What events that took place in 1968 directly led to this conclusion? In section I of The Global Revolutions of 1968, we find the 20th Party Congress Speech given by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956. Although he was the immediate successor of Josef Stalin, who had built the Soviet Empire on fear and terror, Khrushchev was quick to distance himself from that light (Suri 1). In the 20th Party Congress Speech, Khrushchev openly denounced Stalin’s crimes.This speech, which was intended to be secret, was quickly publicized and led to a new and never-before-seen forthrightness of the people to criticize Stalin and his wandering from true communism. Khrushchev acknowledges the use of force against the U. S.
S. R’s own people on behalf of Lenin and Stalin, but regards it as useless, “Stalin… used extreme methods and mass repressions at a time when the revolution was already victorious, when the Soviet state was strengthened, when the exploiting classes were already liquidated…” (Suri 7).By publicly recognizing the slighting of his own people, and allowing this to be common knowledge, Khrushchev opened a door of dissent that would never fully be able to be closed in the minds of the Russian people. This would be mirrored thirty years later when Mikhail Gorbachev would be selected to lead the Soviets. He would gradually begin to realize the need for reform for his country, and even witnessed himself farmers in Canada working hard on their own initiative (Duiker 202), something that was utterly unthinkable in his homeland.When a government doubts themselves, they leave their people no choice but to doubt them as well, and what is a nation without its people? This lack of social reform, along with the lack of political and economic reform ultimately led to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire, and it all began with the seed planted by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956. The student protest and spiritual revolutions played a significant role in the United States and the rest of the world in 1968.
Today it is known as the time of free love, great music, and picket signs.These are just words to describe the mental images conjured when thinking about the era of the hippie, but that is not all it created; these two revolutions in combined to form a social awakening for the young people (students) of this world, making it not only social acceptable to be aware, but encouraged. The Restless Youth report conducted by the CIA boldly states that “Student rebelliousness is not a recent phenomenon” (Suri 221), and it did not cease to be a phenomenon.Citing past worldly examples of student dissent such as English students burning down lecture halls in the 13th century all the way up to the 1960s, where students led the frontline for the Civil Rights Movement, the CIA report foreshadows what is to come for many more years: Students are an elite and volatile group—to a great degree imbued with an almost mystical faith in the ability of an aroused “people” to generate reform and with a marked distrust of governmental bureaucracy.They have a knack for being among the first to espouse unpopular causes and have been quick to call society to account for its shortcomings. (Suri 220) A prime example of this student rebellion is the protest at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Wanting the government to “reduce the level of official corruption and enact democratic reforms, opening the political process to the Chinese people”, thousands of students gathered in the square to provide moral support to their many peers who had gone on hunger strikes (Duiker 258).
The excitement and self-power brought to the protesting students of 1968 all around the world, set the example (and will continue to) for the following generations and even more generations to come. Already having discussed the revolutions of spirit, protest, and anticommunism, we are left with the one most pertinent to us: the global struggle against Western imperialism. In this context, I believe Western imperialism to not only be the monopolization of land, but also the manipulation of emotion and global ties to promote the will of the West, and by the West I mean the United States.In 1978, a woman named Freda Utley died, and US President Ronald Reagan used her death as a means to promote his anticommunist views in Blind on the Left. I am not saying that he did this out of disrespect, but he certainly uses the emotion of the circumstance to play on his passion for America. Regan recalls of Utley: … a very remarkable woman in Washington, D. C.
died just a few days short of her 80th birthday. I would be impossible to count the lives she touched in England… in China, Japan, the Soviet U. & here in her adopted home in the U. S.She once described herself as a “premature anti-communist. I told the truth about communism long before the world was prepared to hear it. ” And Freda Utley knew the truth about communism because as an idealistic woman in the 1920s she accepted communism… She had tried communism and learned its falsehood FALSENESS.
(Suri 283-284) This occurred somewhat between the two time periods that Berman speaks of, and I would consider it neither a cause nor effect, but more of an example. This is the idea of Western power that countless students all over the world were fighting.Who gave the United States the right to dictate to the world what is right and what is wrong? Despite the last six pages of argument on behalf of Paul Berman, I do find some verity in Arthur Marwick’s interpretation that the revolutions had mainly a cultural effect, and Jeremi Suri’s thoughts that contradictory thoughts and actions among governments and political leaders were the main cause of the unrest in 1968. The important part about both of those is that they can both be found within Paul Berman’s explanation.What is the culture of a people without a past, present and future? Sure, the revolutions had a cultural effect on many nations, some lasting and others not. And as I have previously noted, political inconsistencies did account for significant events stemming from 1968. But, once again, both of those philosophies deal with the “here and now”.
Paul Berman takes both of those ideologies and integrates them with his own personal experiences to apply all the different aspects of the tumultuous 1968 to explain even more incidents in the future.From analyzing the facts from his perspective, I’ve even added on to his train of thought to create one of my own. Even though I am a young student (not so different from the so-called revolutionary students described by Berman, Marwick and Suri) and 1968 seems like many lifetimes ago, it is still a very recent past in the overall scheme of things; not only did it mold the way for the following decades, but it will continue to do so well into the rest of my lifetime, and maybe even beyond.It is for that reason, which I was presented with facts and a firsthand account of the excitement and was able to build upon his interpretation, that I found Paul Berman’s The Dream of a New Society to be the most convincing.Works Cited: Berman, Paul. “The Dream of a New Society. ” The Global Revolutions of 1968: a Norton Casebook in History.
Jeremi Suri. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007. 301-08. Print. Duiker, William J.
Twentieth-Century World History. 5th ed. Belmont, Calif. : Thomson Wadsworth, 2010. Suri, Jeremi. The Global Revolutions of 1968: a Norton Casebook in History. New York: W.
W. Norton, 2007. Print.