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September 1, 2014

Homework Help: sociology

Posted by Jane on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 5:30am.

Hi This is my essay question Please can you read my essay below and critque it. "Durkheim argues that society is held together by sets of norms which are transmitted to us by social institutions like the family and schools, and that this process fundamentally shapes our social biographies. Discuss these ideas of Durkheim and then use these ideas to construct an analysis of your own social biography, based on at least one interview with someone who played an important role (e.g family member, teacher, church elder, community leader, etc.)"

Essay

Socialisation refers the process by which individuals inherit the norms, customs and ideologies of the society they are born into. My family is therefore my primary agent of socialization. I learnt my cultural values and norms from my family as well as gender roles and religious beliefs. As a child, I was completely dependent on the adults in my family for survival. They taught me how to survive in society as well as in our place within the community (Giddens, 2006). According to my mother these lessons that I learnt have been taught to her by her parents (Mohamed, 2011). These patterns of socialization are being passed down through the generations and each of my siblingís families is exhibiting similar patterns of socialization.
My life can therefore be explained by using the social facts that Durkheim refers to. Durkheim talked about social facts which are the values, cultural norms and social structures external to the individual. By a social fact he was referring to facts, ideas, beliefs that come from the individualís responses and preferences that come from the social community which socializes each of its members. REFERENCE

Durkheim made two distinctions between social facts Ė material and non material social facts. Nonmaterial social facts are the values norms and other conceptually held beliefs. Gender roles are an example of non material social facts as it is something that society influences. It is also a form of structure because it refers to the behaviours and attitude that is learnt through the social structures in the community (Giddens, 2006). My mother said that in our family the men had always been regarded as the breadwinners (Mohamed, 2011). My mother and all her sisters were stay at homes mums. However, me and all my sisters as well as all my female cousins have all rejected the traditional gender stereotypes of our families. This can be considered to be an example of socialisation and resistance (Van Huyssteen, 2002).

Religion
According to Durkheim an anomie is a social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values and is also and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals. This feeling of 'anomie' also makes us feel as though we don't belong to society, that there isnít really even a society out there that we can belong to, and even that we have no 'self' .However, for me my religion maintains the influence of society and unites the congregation into a moral community. The Religious ceremonies that is performed in the church that I attend brings people together. The church also services to counter act feelings of frustration that people experience in the world today. To me Religion gives society a sense of belonging and meaning for their existence.
According to Durkheim, religion is a product of society and not a supernatural or divinely inspired notion. He believed that religion operates as a basis of unity and identification for the individual within society. In addition, he believed that it reinforces the social norms and values that the community holds onto. I agree with Durkheim on this, the church that I belong to does feel like a community to me. The congregation has been together for many generations. We all hold onto the same values and morals. My mother told me that her parents had been born and raised in the church and that as far back as she can remember nothing much has changed in the way that the church operates. My children are also being raised in this church and will probably follow the same sacred rituals that I did as well as the generations before them.
Durkheim was also concerned with the communal activity and the communal bonds that religious activities give rise too. He divided certain actions, different characteristics of life and physical things into two categories, the sacred and the profane. He described the extraordinary aspects of life sacred and he also refers to objects or actions that are considered part of the religious realm as well as objects of worship as the sacred. The profane is the everyday aspects of life, everything else that does not have a religious function or meaning (Bellah, 1973). A very important sacred ritual that is performed at my church is drinking the wine and breaking the bread that we receive during Holy Communion. According to my belief it symbolizes the blood and body of Jesus Christ. This is an example of the sacred as the wine is not consider to be just any drink and the bread has a special significance attached to it also. For my congregation it is also a shared sense of being together during the time of communion, which is unlike anything that we experience in the profane world. While this is a sacred behaviour there are other actions that are not. Therefore there is a transition from sacred world and the profane.

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