Sociology Questions

Q1What does it mean to say that ‘intimacy is more than a set of feelings’?

Intimacy is commonly understood as a set of specific feelings experienced by an individual who falls into an intimate love, such as feelings of connectedness, closeness and attachment. However, as Sternberg (2007) argues, intimacy should not be described simply as a set of feelings since it is more than that. Rather, intimacy is all-embracing and all-encompassing. Different people may have different feelings that lead them to develop intimate relationships. All the different feelings contribute to the intimacy. Every feeling that contributes to it is included, whether it takes place at a conscious, sub-conscious or unconscious level. In short, intimacy does not encompass several particular feelings. Rather, it encompasses all feelings that contribute to it (Sternberg, 2007).

Q2 according to Fromm, to describe loving as an art goes against the grain of a consumer society. What does he mean and, in your view, are his claims justified?

Fromm believed that loving is an art that does not rhyme with approaches of people in a consumerist society. According to Fromm, loving is an art since individuals need to master, practive and put effort in love in order to perfect in it self (Harré & MoghaIDam, 2013). However, Fromm noted that consumerism influences people to neglect love and to take an approach that is opposite to the art of living. Rather than adopting an approach that lead to perfection of love, Fromm argued that people in a consumerist society treated their love partners as goods or commodities self (Harré & MoghaIDam, 2013). Fromm is justified in making the claim since people in a consumerist society emphasize on acquiring and possessing commodities and they end up treating their love partners in the same manner.



Q3What do you think is the role of friendship in modern society?

Friendship plays various important roles in the modern society. Firstly, friends provide reference outside an individual’s family against which personal character is judged and measured. Secondly, friends provide support in cases of passages that lead to individuation or separation from family members (Harré & MoghaIDam, 2013). Further, friends provide support that an individual needs to adapt to new rules and roles outside family. In aIDition, friends fill the deficit of other relationships when an individual is staying away from family members. Friends offer encouragement and guidance when an individual is developing different parts of self (Harré & MoghaIDam, 2013). In short, friendship in the modern world plays a major role in shaping and reinforcing an individual’s ‘self.’

Q4 Markus say that ‘sexual love is satiable, it needs friendship in order to sustain and renew itself.’ What does she mean here?

Markus argues that sexual love is satiable and that it requires friendship in order to thrive. The statement given by Markus implies that sexual love requires stimulus from outside in order to thrive. The stimulus needed in order to sustain sexual love is provided by friendship. As Blatterer (2014) explains, friendship is an intimate, personal and private relationship that thrives because of availability of ‘outside’ stimulus. For instance, friendship thrives because of openness between two or more people regarding various issues happening in the outside world. Also, friends have common interests towards outside various issues happening or existing in the outside world. Such outside stimulus also plays, which is provided by friendship, the role of sustaining sexual love.



Q5 How does your lived experience of family differ to media representations of the family?

From my personal experience, media portrayal of the family is highly unrealistic. A good example is the portrayal of the family in talk shows and soap operas presented in televisions. The rate of conflict between different family members is usually very high in the television programs. Remarkably, soap operas focus their themes mainly on vices such as divorce, betrayal and infidelity. Women are stereotyped as scheming manipulators and starry-eyed romantics. In talk shows, families are presented as dysfunctional and parents are presented as irresponsible. As From my lived experience, such vices are not very common in real family life and thus, the media tends to exaggerate the extent to which the aforementioned vices are present in real family life.

Q6What do you think about the idea that childhood is being commodified/ sexualized? Provide media examples to support you claims.

Childhood is highly sexualized and commodified. Most of the messages and images presented in the media are meant to have a sexual appeal to the audience. Also, producers of products make use of sexualized images with the aim of enhancing appeal of their products to consumers. Examples of such images are ads placed on bottles of Slice, images used on ads for Bratz dolls, Go DaIDy commercials, the PETA ad and Candies advertisements. As a result, boys and girls get the message that women are sex objects. Also, children today internalize sexual messages in presented in movies, advertisements and other contents of the media to the extent that they start practicing the sexual behaviors portrayed, even when they when they are too young to understand how to deal with sexual matters (Descarte et al., 2010).

Q7 When we think about ‘youth rebellion’ of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, cultural forms as Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Hippie movement etc. served to differentiate the generations. What about today? Is this still happening, and to what extent?

The Hippie movement, Rock ‘n’ Roll and other youth rebellion groups that existed between 1950s and 1970s played a key role in differentiating generations. This is due to the fact that the groups embraced and practiced unique cultures that were not embraced by adults aged 40 years and above. The groups adopted unique cultures, characterized by factors such as drug use and unique glooming. However, such groups ceased to have a significant impact in determining generational gaps in 1970s. Today, different generations are distinguished by their use of language, slang, technological products and language phenomenon. There are different generations with unique characteristics, such as generation X, baby boomers and generation Y (Furlong, 2013).

Q8 How does discipline differ from abuse?

The term discipline refers to strategies meant to enhance an improvement in the behavior of an individual. In other words, discipline refers to strategies that are meant to control or lead to a change in the behaviors of the targeted person or group of people. Ultimately the person who is disciplined learns the need for behavioral change and adjusts to the desired behavior (Haley et al., 2010). On the other hand, abuse occurs when the person doing it causes physical or mental harm to the targeted person. The person perpetrating abuse focuses on satisfying his or her feelings or needs. Abuse may not lead to an improvement in the behavior of the targeted person. The targeted person usually feels that he or she has been treated with hostility (Haley et al., 2010).

Q9 Why, do you think, same-sex marriage is still not recognized in most countries? Why is our sexuality still such a marker of difference?

In most countries, marriage between people of the same sex is not legally and socially recognized. The key reason for the lack of recognition is that people in most societies perceive it as an act that is against their moral and cultural values and thus, people who engage in it are stigmatized. Thus forms of social control discourage people from engaging in it (Parker, 2013). Despite the fact that people have been recognizing that there are individuals who are naturally attracted to sexual partners of the same sex, sexuality is still perceived as an important market of difference between women and men. This is due to the fact that people use sexuality to define the character or trait of an individual, rather than physicality (Parker, 2013).

Q10 Divorce is often seen as a liberating possibility. What are some of its more negative aspects?

Although divorce may be liberating, it has numerous possible adverse effects. To start with, divorce usually causes stress, depression and emotional suffering to the parents involved and children. After divorce, children often feel insecure and anxious. Prolonged anxiety is likely to lead to anxiety disorder. Also, children usually suffer from low self-esteem as a result of divorce. Numerous studies have shown that children brought up by divorced parents are likely to have poor social skills that are gained by children who are brought up in a stable family (Everett, 2014). In aIDition, there is high probability for children brought up by divorced parents to replicate the same in future. As well, such children are likely to have learning problems and may not perform optimally in school (Everett, 2014).



Q11 To what extent is ‘anomie’ a useful concept today?

The term ‘anomie’ simply describes a situation in which people in a society fail to follow ideals, values or/and standards (Babbie, 2015). The concept is still useful today in explaining the causes of deviance among people. For instance, people today tend to stress on the goal of monetary success to the extent that they fail to follow societal rules and standards in the process of pursuing the goal. They end up using illegitimate means to attain them. The use of illegitimate means to attain monetary success is one of the key factors that lead to rise of criminal gangs today (Babbie, 2015).

Q12 What’s the role of the ideals of the Enlightenment in today’s, modern societies? Are the ideals of the French Revolution, for example, constant realities in your own society?

There are several ideas of Enlightenment that influenced people in France to engage in French Revolution. One of the ideas was the promotion of a society that was based on reason rather than traditions. Secondly, commoners promoted the idea of equality among all people. Precisely, people wanted monarch’s power to be reduced and individual equality rights to be improved. The same Enlightenment ideas are still constant realities in the western societies today (Neely, 2008). Today, human rights movements and groups focus on Enlightening people regarding their individual rights and they fight relentlessly to improve them and to ensure that they are not violated by government and private agencies. As well, the society increasingly focuses on applying ‘reason’ rather than traditions (Neely, 2008).

Q13 When you think about ‘social change’ during the Industrial Revolution, how are changes in technology related to how people began to interact?

Industrial Revolution led to numerous changes in social interactions of humans, some of which can be associated with the results of technological change. Firstly, employers during industrial revolution started offering low wages to workers. Similarly, automation of tasks as a result of technological change or advancement has led many employers to reduce wages offered to workers, especially those who do not have knowledge and skills to operate the machines (Leonardi, Nardi & Kallinikos, 2012). Secondly, concentration on work during industrial revolution led to a reduction in the time available for interaction among family members. Similarly, the emergence of technologies such as computer games and television has been limiting social interaction among family members during the era of technological change (Leonardi et al., 2012).

Q14 What do sociologists mean when they talk about a ‘restructuring’ of the life course?

The phrase “restructuring of the life course” is used by sociologists to describe a change in the structure or nature of an individual’s family and work life as a result of changes in demographic, economic and technological forces. An individual’s life course is defined by looking at factors such as time available to interact with family members, time of entry to work, time of exit from work, number of children, number of wives and working policies of employers (Macmillan, 2005). The structure of life course changes as the defining features change and the change is regarded as restructuring of life course. For instance, the structure of an individual’s life course changes significantly after retirement, especially if the individual stops reporting to work (Macmillan, 2005).

Q15 Thinking about the ‘standard life course’, can we say that it is gendered? How so?

The standard life course is clearly gendered. A person who passes through the common stages of life is expected to adopt a life and engage in activities that are associated with his or her gender. In most societies, for instance, a man is expected to marry one woman and play the roles of a father, such as providing finance to feed the family. On the other hand, a woman is expected to marry to one man, bear children and play the roles associated with the female gender, such as cleaning the house, cooking and feeding the children (Macmillan, 2005).

Q16 How does contextualising the meaning of adulthood in its social conditions expand our understanding of this ‘life stage’?

Adulthood is simply understood as an age in which an individual is sexually mature. However, understanding of its meaning can be expanded through contextualizing it in its social conditions. Different societies use factors such as social milestones, psychological changes and physical changes to define adulthood in their own unique ways. In most western societies, for instance, a person who has attained 20 years is perceived as an adult (Moody, 2013). In some of the industrialized nations, an adult is defined as someone who is aged above 18 years. However, an individual who has attained that age may not be regarded or perceived as an adult if he/she lacks attributes associated with adults and portrays behaviors of children. Therefore, the definition of a person as an adult is highly dependent on social context (Moody, 2013).


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