Eitzen - Ch 6 Notes.docx

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Chuck O' Connell

Ch 6 - Social Control Social control - mechanisms to ensure conformity Ideological social control - attempt to manipulate the consciousness of citizens so they accept the ruling ideology and refuse to be moved by competing ideologies. 3 ways: Socialization of youth Frontal attacks on competing ideologies by authority figures Propaganda efforts by political authorities Family Want children to succeed; success measured also by whether child fits in society Education Indoctrinate pupils about work attitudes, respect for authority, patriotism Textbooks biased in direction authorities want to perpetuate. Schools should turn out individuals with ability to think for themselves instead. Religion - provides guidelines for behaviour and punishments for disobedience Established religion in U.S. tends to reinforce status quo Teach that people should accept an imperfect society because they are born sinners Persuades people to accept rather than change an unjust system They will be rewarded in the next life Sport Reinforce conforming attitudes and behaviours Nat’l pride, militaristic pageantry. Can serve as opiate of the masses (Ch 3) Myth of upward mobility. Reinforce U.S. values among participants, etc. Media Reinforce values and norms of society; affect how viewers perceive and interpret events Government Political speeches, books, legislation Require course content in schools Manipulate people into believing their security is threatened by an enemy Few of the downtrodden question the legitimacy of political and economic system Direct social control - attempts to punish or neutralize (render powerless) organizations or individuals who deviate from society’s norms. Deviant targets: poor, mentally ill, criminals, political dissidents Social welfare Piven and Cloward - public assistance programs defuse social unrest. prevent questioning of legitimacy of the system Great Depression: government remained aloof until there was political disorder contraction/abolishment of public assistance programs when stability restored Great Recession: increasing gap between haves and have-nots, fiscal crisis reduced public assistance. Atest for this theory - if outrage / social movements occur, government welfare programs to aid poor will become more generous Science and Medicine - Psychologists and psychotherapists - aid people who do not follow expectations of society Labelling of mental illness → system of social control National Violence Initiative proposal → identify violent children and prescribe drug therapy, psychosurgery Eugenics - improvement of human race through control of hereditary factors 1907-1970s - 70,000 people sterilized for abnormalities Potential will increase through biotechnology; parents can check kids for defective genes. Will people be making genetic improvements? Labeling of chronic offenders via physical characteristics → can people be punished for potential crimes? What are negative effects of being labeled Government How legitimate is a government in a democracy to stifle dissent? Unclear. American tradition and values affirm that dissent is appropriate, but politics contradict: For social order to prevail, society needs to ensure existing power relationships maintained over time Well-off in society benefit from existing power arrangements; use their influence to encourage repression of challenges to government Law enactment and law enforcements
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