Human Nature- The Sociology of Human Behaviour Jan 25.
-For a functionalist: making the common or normal seem as though it makes “sense.”
-For a conflict theorist- We ask why? Why does it make sense? And for who?
-Synopsis: We have always wondered why we act and behave the way we do- and this is
understandable- we argue over what makes sense and what doesn’t.
-We often encounter behaviour explained as normal, human nature or instinctive
-Media, for example, reinforces such notions by suggesting diversity in behaviours- sexuality,
intelligence, aggression or criminality may be genetically determined
-These explanations are referred to by social science as biological determinism.
-We are not born as a “blank slate.”
-Rather we are biological and to some degree our behaviours- like our values or beliefs- are both
conditioned and restricted by our genetic matter and physicality
-Instinct: an inborn complex pattern of behaviour that must exist in every member of a species-
and due to it being genetic- cannot be overcome by force of will
-Reflex- A simple response to a specific stimulus such as your pupil contracting in bright light or
expanding when stimulated or “high.”
-We are (social) animals but are we the same as animals?
-Are instincts and reflexes not the same?
-Meaning, some basic elements of human behaviour are universal and thus must be instinctive or
-For example, is survival a universal instinct?
-Our human behaviour can contradict this (EXAMPLE(s) Murder or suicide.)
-That is, do animals commit suicide or murder?
Sexuality is often considered an instinct but there is a wide range of possibilities surrounding sex
suggesting it is something different
-Opposite sex/same sex -self-stimulation/partner-based stimulation
-As much as possible/only occasionally
-Religious purposes/no role of religion
-According to the text, the notion of a natural sex drive or a sex instinct simply does not
adequately explain the wide diversity of sexual behaviour
-Further, humans are of the human world, but unique within it:
-Only humans can alter nature in complex ways
-Only humans can transmit-Via language- new ideas and knowledge through generations
Any explanation of human behaviour that resorts to the biological alone is neither useful, but
instead is inadequate, in explaining human behaviours such as sex/uality.
-To what end can we distinguish between sex as natural (bio) and sex as nurtured (socio)?
-IE. Objective/subjective; denotative/connot