The most interesting concept that I learned in sociology this year was Sociological Imagination. I have found that now that I am aware of sociological imagination every interaction that I have in my life I am considering how it affects other people around the world. I can no longer buy a chocolate bar without think of how I am helping pay for a childs education who is living in Ghana. The way that I see sociological imagination, as I have previously said in a previous blog is how Everybody in one way or another contributes to the nation that they reside in; everyday people pay taxes or use public services like roads and public health care, things as small as interacting with people or using the lands natural resources in some way effect the nation. While you can control whether you live in Canada, Australia, Russia or any other country in the world, what you can’t control is that you belong to the global village. Just like everyone has an effect on the country they live in everyone affects the global village. Everyone’s lives in some way or another are affected by the lives of people outside of the country you live in. Chances are that right now someone from another country has made it possible for you to do whatever you are doing. Right now I am using a computer, reading from a piece of paper and sitting on a chair in front of a desk chances are all of those things were made outside of Canada, let alone one of them. Even if the desk was made by British Columbia’s lumber industry, in that lumber mill they have all sorts of machinery to produce the desk, the machinery would of been made at a factory with other machinery and metal for that… well you see where this is going. Just as your life is affected by people who live in other corners of the world you also affect their lives. I have also affected their lives by purchasing something that they have contributed to, hopefully bringing them revenue and making it possible for them to do things like education. Once you realize that you are an interactive member of a global community you instantly start to think about how you are affecting others lives. It’s important to exercise this ability to know how you fit into the global community. Although it may put extra weight on every action that you do in day to day life no one can overlook how important it is. I feel that it is a shame that so many people lack this skill and I will be forever grateful that I was able to learn this. Thanks to Sociology 1120 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C., Canada under Dr. Charles Quist-Adade I will always be able to exercise my global sociological imagination to see how I fit into the global community.
The Danger of a Single Story is a video about a young African woman and her experiences in Nigeria then in America going to university. The video can be found on TED talks and is told by Chimamanda Adichie. She tells us how when she was growing up in Nigeria she would only read American and British stories then when she started writing she wrote the same style stories even though she had no experiences in those things, she just knew of them through others stories. When she moved to America to go to school her roommate was shocked to find out that Chimamanda listened to American music, spoke English well and knew all about the American way of life. This is because the roommate only heard stories of Africa that showed people dying of poverty in disease and fighting senseless wars. Stories of Africans starting small businesses or being successful in other ways are never shown in the west. We have only seen a single story of Africa, and this is dangerous because there is so much more to Africa and the people there than just the things we see, tribes, poverty, disease and underprivileged people and we are not truly understanding Africa and the peoples way of life. If we see people only one way over and over again, then that is what they become in our minds.
The Stanford Prison experiment really shows how much a person can take on the role that society expects them to. I won’t bother summarizing the experiment but you can find out information about it in the following link http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=677084988379129606. I found it very surprising how far the subjects of the experiment took the roles that Dr. Zimbardo gave. I was particularly unimpressed with how far the guards were willing to take their roles. Normal decent human beings were willing to humiliate, embarrass, and force them to do menial repetitive tasks, depriving them of sleep and even put prisoners into solitary confinement. The prisoners also internalized their roles to a great deal and its shocking to see that they were planning to break out when they were a part of an experiment and could ask to leave anytime they wanted to. I am also shocked to see the attitude of the “head guard” after the experiment. Although he stated his regrets the way he said it did not seem very sincere and almost seems in my opinion to miss it. When he told his story at times he seemed to be holding back a smile as though he wanted the power back. In conclusion The Stanford Prison Experiment is shocking to see how far decent human beings can change when they are given a little bit of power and how quickly it can go to their heads.
The video “What Have My Cocoa Beans Got to Do with Canada” shows us how the global sociological imagination can affect all of us through the eyes of a young Ghanaian boy. This boy planted cocoa beans on his aunt’s farm for ten years while he was going to school as a young boy. Most people would assume that this boy had no effect on their life and they have no effect on that boy’s life. As sociologists we know that this is not true and we must use our global sociological imagination to see what effects our lives and whose lives we affect. Without even realizing it we have managed to buy chocolate that may of been advertised as Swiss or Columbian, turned out to be made from the beans that this boy planted. Our seemingly inconsequential actions have effects rippling far beyond our own community and even our own shores. A simple interaction of buying a chocolate bar we provide money and job opportunities to various workers in other countries who make the chocolate and children in Ghana who planted the trees. Some of your money would have even gone to help educate this young bought in Ghana, his education is only possible because Canadians bought chocolate, and his education was a direct yet unintended result of buying chocolate. This shows how our actions can have an effect on people on the other side of the globe.
Negotiation, Not Retribution
The tragedy of September 11th 2001 will never be forgot, and rightfully so. Many died and many more lost family members but is it any more of a tragedy then the tens of thousands of women and children who die in developing countries around the world? Well most people will say no, but many people were holding back tears on that day in September while the same people go days without thinking about the tragedies in other countries. Well that because it hit so close to home, everyone realized if this can happen in New York it can happen anywhere. People thought of all the people that they know and love who take a subway that can be attacked or a skyscraper and how easily their lives could be taken away. It’s a lot harder to visualize a member of your family dyeing of malnutrition because we live in a country where that is very uncommon. We also don’t realize that their deaths may be the direct or indirect result of actions taken by the country that we live in. Greed from developed nations selling munitions to these developing countries allows people there to kill and maim each other in an attempt to survive instead of providing a way for them to live co-operatively.
September 11: Forgiveness is Not Part of the Lessons Learned
No forgiveness was mentioned in the speeches given by George bush on the anniversary of the most horrendous terrorist attack on the nation in its history because none is deserved. This paper seems to be written from a very anti American perspective no one forgave the United States for what they did to deserve the attack they just attacked and it is human instinct to counter attack. It became obvious on that day that there is a very serious threat to United States security and that threat needs to be dealt with. If I have a racoon that managed to get stuck in my basement and every time I go down there it mauls me and causes me injury I can’t simply go upstairs and say that’s okay I forgive it for what it has done to me. This solves nothing because next time I go downstairs it’s just going to attack me again. Unfortunately at some point the threat is going to have to be dealt with in order for me to be safe to go down stairs. And it is unfortunate because there does not seem to be a peaceful way to do this. Forgiveness towards an entity that killed over 6000 innocent American citizens is obviously something that can’t be asked for in a mere year. Especially given the circumstances that no one has admitted fault, no humility has been felt and no attempt to be forgiven from the guilty party has been made. Forgiveness may come one day, but that day is far off and understandably so.
Who Will Liberate Liberia?
The United States of America has put a bounty on the head of Saddam Hussein and his sons of $50 million. They are also spending $4 billion a month to fight a war in Iraq which is advertised to bring peace. This seems like a strange claim when there are so many other countries that could use the United States help to have peace while they are occupying a country that wants nothing to do with them. While it is a lot of money to put into a war it is unfair to say that they could be using that money to feed starving children or something else noble like that. The money that goes into the war is directly stimulating the American economy. They are providing money to American citizens who make the army clothing, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, tires, windows, buildings, food and the list goes on. They are also paying for their soldiers salaries as well as giving them an education opportunity that they might not otherwise have. When more people have more money to spend they will spend more money further stimulating the economy. The United States might be involved in that conflict for only that reason. If they picked another country to fight American citizens would be more inclined to disagree with the war. After the events on September 11th 2001 it would be unpatriotic to disagree with this war and most Americans feel like someone needs to pay for what happened to them.
Hegemony is a way that a leader can control a group without using direct physical force but by indirect,ideological control, implied power. Many automatically think back to the world wars and cold wars for examples of modern hegemony due to the ideological nature of the communist Warsaw pact and the capitalist NATO. Although Hitler did use domination to some extent control the Nazi party but it was hegemony that helped him the most. He used ideologies to gain support and followers and ultimately gain all the power that they had. Hegemony is so interesting because it is basically your own will to follow or not, no one and nothing is forcing you to do anything there are simply ideologies that you choose to follow or not. It is easy to look into the past and see where people have been physically forced to follow through violence or fear of it but finding examples of hegemony is much harder.
Chapter 3 in “Issues in Social Justice” changes gears a bit moving away from sexual orientation and focuses on the issue of human trafficking. We are told that human trafficking is “the purposeful movement of any person(s) to places in which they are sold, or purchased into forced labour or bondage such as prostitution, industrial work, domestic work or sex slavery.” Industrial forced labour, Mining forced labour, Forced domestic, Forced prostitution, Forced child prostitution or sex slavery, Bonded or indentured, and labour Military. All of those forums of human trafficking occur worldwide and there are some pretty scary facts that show how serious the problem is. It is an estimated 32 billion dollar a year industry with 12 – 17 million people being trafficked at any time and one of the reasons it is possible on that large of a scale is because it is very hard to track people in less fortunate countries then Canada. Traffickers can be manipulative and use a bait and switch technique promise their “workers” a better life and a way to support their family, or be as blunt as to kidnap and force them to become slaves through fear, what’s worse is that this is usually done at a young age. Although some countries are taking steps to stop slavery there are still many that allow some forms, such as prostitution and some countries just look the other way. Human trafficking is a disgusting thing that has been present all throughout society and it truly shows us how dark human beings really are. People are willing to exploit their fellow man to such an extreme horrible point for their own personal ill gotten gains. The saddest part is that it has no signs of slowing down, although the United Nations has a division for dealing with human trafficking it only seems to becoming a bigger problem every day. After reading this chapter I feel as though I have lost faith in the basic goodness of all people and am almost ashamed I didn’t know of how much of an issue this is until today.