The Three Minute Sociologist: Soc Imagination and Perspective - Tools Across Cultures?

hi it's the three minute sociologists again and today I'd like to look at a question that one of our students suggested in sociology really culturally relative I mean is it different from culture to culture and that having been said are there any tools that we can use across cultures let's take these step-by-step first of all depending on what continent you have to be studying sociology or who's writing your textbooks that particular ethnic or racial or continental group may very well be the center of the examples if you're reading an American text very likely you'll get American examples but I want to point out that the sociological perspective and the sociological imagination can be used across cultures it doesn't have to be a European or an African or a Middle Eastern view it doesn't have to be a focus on any of those particular areas the reality is the perspective and then what see right Mills called in 1959 the sociological imagination can be used in a variety of settings can be used in societies can be used in organizations and can be used at micro levels on a day to day basis let me take these apart turns out that I'm going to apply sociologist and been using this stuff for a long time so let me share with you some of the tools and some of my favorite tools that I use when I went move into any new culture or new situation first of all when I'm moving to an organization or a situation I walk in with the notion that cultures exist that's important in and of itself no matter where you are there are patterns with pattern ways of life beliefs values norms look for them I may not understand a culture and very often I've been in situations where I freely admitted to people I don't know what your culture is I need to learn it but do understand that that way of life is there whether you like it or not and it may not be the one that you're used to there are both formal and informal rules that need to be catered to and understood secondly human action is organized now it may seem chaotic and truly often is but it's organized and patterned to some degree and this provides a structure for people to live a way to pattern their life so they don't have to reinvent every single activity to get what they need and within those structures there are status hierarchies that is to say some people think they're more important than others the question is how do you define that I mean that's your job and my job no matter what culture you're in to find out why some people are seeing more to be more important than others thirdly there are always power and influence centers in human societies look for them they're not always formal and they're not always obvious whether you go culture to culture whatever culture you have to happen to be in look for power and influence fourth social change and it occurs everywhere but what you need to look at is what's the acceptable variety and speed velocity of social change and how does it present itself that's your challenge whatever culture you happen to be in fifth some social phenomena exists because they simply are collectively defined that way now that sounds like circular logic but it sort of is the notion that something is because we collectively believe it is and that's sufficient to make people act in pattern ways and last and I guess this is more of see right Mills thinking we're both autobiographical and biographical you know an autobiography is something you write and so hence your unique spontaneous and creative but large portion of you is biographical and in that sense that means that somebody else wrote your world wrote your story depending on which gender you happen to be how gender happens to be defined this point in history has a big impact on you how old you are may define who you are where you enter the social system is not something you necessarily had anything to do with so in a sense what happened to you and who you are as a function of those societal forces and historic forces writing on you well those are some tools I always take with me and I thought maybe they could be used across culture enjoy that take care

  1. I like this guy. I really never thought about a lot of this stuff and probably should have. He lays things out very well and makes everything relatable.

  2. nfranklin,

    Please forgive me for not responding before this. I am so pleased that you find these items useful. Please feel free to share them with others who may gain from them. I've made one or two more since your email.

    Dr. S

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