We should respond all the questions by studying Course Text: Zygmunt Bauman & Tim May, 2001, Thinking Sociologically, 2nd edn., Blackwell as well as the ‘Suggested Further Reading’ in Bauman & May, p. 182-89.
Zygmunt Bauman & Tim May, 2001, Thinking Sociologically, 2nd edn., Blackwell.
WE SHOULD ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS USING Course Text: Zygmunt Bauman &Tim May, 2001, Thinking Sociologically, 2nd edn., Blackwell
1· What factors might limit our ability to control our own lives?
· “How we act and see ourselves is informed by the expectations of the groups to which we belong” (p. 20). How far is this true of your own experience?
2. · How do we acquire our sense of ‘self’ ?
Consider what sociologists and others, such as Chodorow & Freud, tell us about the process of socialization.
· How might ‘significant others’ and ‘reference groups’ contribute to our sense of ‘self’?
(You might like to consider this conundrum; “I am not who I think I am and I am not who you think I am. I am what I think you think I am” (attributed to G H Meade).
3.· Who are the people whose actions play a key role in shaping our daily lives – and where are they located in terms of their ‘social distance’ from us? What conclusions might you draw from this?
· How important are social distinctions and social divisions (e.g. ‘in-groups’ & ‘out-groups’, ‘Us’ & ‘Them’) in giving us our sense of self-identity? Give some examples. Would you still have an identity in a world without such divisions?
4.· Who or what might threaten the boundaries/cohesiveness of a social group, and why? Give examples. Are the anxieties aroused, justified, in your view?
· What are some of the practices of segregation which you have observed in city life? Are there others, you may not have observed, but which might affect you in some way?
5.· Distinguish between ‘community’ and ‘organization’? Give some examples of each.
· How are ‘communities’ formed, and maintained? Give examples of different types of ‘community’.
6.· According to Weber, what are the key characteristics of bureaucratic forms of organization?
· Can you suggest some possible practical sources of conflict in Weber’s ideal model of bureaucracy?
7.· According to Bauman & May, what distinguishes ‘rational actions’ from ‘irrational actions’? Is this a useful distinction, in your view?
· Distinguish between ‘power’ and ‘authority’. How are they exercised?
8· “All ownership divides and distinguishes people”( p. 69). In what respects?
· With the aid of examples, consider the validity or otherwise of the following statement: ‘Bureaucracy can serve human and inhuman needs’.
What conclusions might you draw about the conduct of individuals in a bureaucratic organization?
9· What roles do ‘love’ and ‘exchange’ play in human relationships?
· Can we find our true ‘selves’ in love-relationships?
10· Can the consumer market supply us with an identity of our choice?
What, in your view, are some of the key hazards of ‘love-relationships’?
11.· In what ways are the health and well-being of our bodies a fundamental part of our daily lives?
· “’Being a male’ or ‘being a female is a question of art which needs to be learned, practiced, and constantly perfected” (P105)). How is this ‘art’ accomplished?
12· “The body is the part of ourselves which is always on display, and people tend to judge by what they can see” ( p. 103). How might this affect the way we, and others, regard our bodies?
· “Our sexuality…is a task that is performed” (Bauman & May, p. 106). Explain.
13· ‘Time and space are shrinking’. Explain.
· What are some of the social consequences of the spread of electronic means of communication?
14.· What do Bauman & May mean by the terms ‘risk society’ and ‘globalization’?
· How might thinking sociologically help us understand some of the consequences of ‘globalization’?
15.· Describe briefly the various kinds of ‘boundaries’ (e.g. between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’; ‘nation’ & ‘state’) discussed by Bauman & May.
· In what ways does Bauman & May’s sociological perspective help us think about some critical contemporary issues concerning ‘culture’, ‘nation’ and ‘state’?
16.· How do we become ‘consumers of expertise’? (Bauman & May, p. 151)
· “Its championship of equality notwithstanding, the market…produces and reinstates inequality in a society made of consumers” (Bauman & May, p. 160). How valid is this statement?
·17. How far has ‘thinking sociologically’ enhanced your understanding of everyday life? (Note the two senses of ‘understanding’, p. 165).