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Sociology Essay, Research Paper

Sociology 210 Exam #2 (Essay #4)

When sociologists think of the postmodern society, shopping malls are most likely the first thing to come to mind. It can be easily argued that “shopping malls are the cathedrals of postmodern society” Times have changed since Marx argued that who you are is what you do or since Durkheim argued that who you are depends on your religion. Nowadays, who you are is what you buy. People all over go to shopping malls to make their lives easier than past generations. They go to these malls to buy products that increase their status in society or increase their leisure or increase their ease of living. Also in the postmodern society, people tend to want to be different and look different. So, where else would one go but to a shopping mall where he will find a greater number of choices of whatever product he desires. This is where people go to shop for their “identity makeovers”.

One of the major characteristics of today s society is that the postmodern self needs to be transportable. People represent themselves by things that they can carry with them all the time. For example, clothing is a major way of representing one s self in postmodern society. One can express his views and beliefs just by dressing in a certain style of clothing. And of course, the mall is the place to go to get these transportable, representational items. Shopping malls have not become the “cathedral of postmodern society” only for their products. They also serve as a keen place to socialize. People both young and old go to malls to meet with friends or to even meet new people. Very rarely is it possible to find someone at a mall only to shop for what he/she wants and then leave.

With the need to socialize, make life easier, make one s self representative through transportable objects, and to shop for “identity makeovers”, it is plain to see why “shopping malls are the cathedrals of postmodern society.”

Of the categories in Table 4.10, the ones that a labeling theorist could best explain are prostitution, drunkenness, and suspicion. Once a woman is labeled as a prostitute, there isn t much she can do to get a job. Even if she isn t a prostitute, a labeling theorist will argue that once she is labeled as one, she will become one because the “deviant” will see herself as such and will act in accordance with her title.

A person who is labeled an alcoholic will either continue to be one or become one once he has realized that he can t get around it. A labeling theorist will most likely believe in the saying “Once a alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” because it s saying that a person will hold true to his label.

A labeling theorist definitely believes that a person once convicted of a crime, will hold his criminal label forever and will always be a suspicious person. It s interesting that although most arrests of most offenses are against white people, most suspicions are on black people. A labeling theorist might explain this as the fact that there is a major prejudice in the United States against the black race. Since the majority of cops are white, they will by nature be more suspicious of black people because they have already been given a label before they have even committed a crime.

T-Bone s actions are a crime. For an action to be considered a crime, the specific action must be outlawed, there must be uniformity, the law must have been passed by a government body and it has to be sanctioned by the government. These all apply to T-Bone s case. The act of firing a gun at any human, unless permission is given, is illegal. There is definitely uniformity in this crime. The law applies to everybody, no matter what. The law was passed by a government body and it is enforced by the same government body that passed the law. Since T-Bone s actions fit all of the criteria, they are considered a crime.

T-Bone s actions are also deviant. There are three situations present in a situation of deviance. There must be an expectation, where some norm, rule, or law to which people of a group are expected to conform to, a violation of the norm, rule, or law, and a reaction to that violator of the norm, rule, or law. It is safe to say that people in the United States are expected to not pull out a gun and shoot at someone. The violation is the act itself that T-Bone committed. Specifically, it is when he pulled out the gun and fired at J.J. Sparks, even if he didn t hit him. Finally, there was a reaction to T-Bone s actions. The police arrested him and put him in jail until a court trial could be set up. This was the sanction directed at the violator. Based on these three rules, T-Bone s actions were deviant.

In order to determine whether or not T-Bone s actions were social control, it would have to be determined whether or not Sparks actions were deviant. T-Bone s actions were a reaction to Sparks actions. However, it isn t social control unless Sparks actions were deviant. According to the three rules to determine deviance, his actions are not deviant. Sparks did not violate any norm or rule or law; therefore, his actions weren t deviant. And since, his actions weren t deviant, T-Bone s actions weren t social control.

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