Through this course, i have learnt a lot about society and how we as individuals can affect the change that occurs within the society. However, in order for those changes to occur, there are certain core concepts that need to be implemented and applied to our everyday lives and be passed on. Of the many concepts that i have learnt over the course of the semester, the one that i think most appealed to me was the concept of the “Sociological Imagination.” John Stuart Mills defined sociological imagination as the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society, where people attach meanings to symbols, and then they act according to their subjective interpretation of these symbols. Even though people give meaning to and attach themselves to symbols, sociological imagination gives them the capacity to shift from one perspective to another.
one of the other concepts that struck to me was “Global Village” This sure seems to be a term that we here multiple times during the day and have given our own meanings to it. However, it all truly made sense during the duration of the course and through the concept of the “Global Classroom.” As a part of the course, we were in a virtual classroom with students in Ghana, who although were not physically present in the class, but could still be a part of the class and take part in the class discussions. These are students that we will probably never meet in our lives but still could engage in discussions with them and that made me realize that even though we may be in completely different parts of the world with absolutely different social environments, how inter – dependent and inter – related our lives are.
Of the many things that i have learnt over the duration of the semester, these are two core concepts that i will definitely apply to my everyday interactions with people within the society.
Oppression is the systematic, socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group, category, or team of people by anyone. Oppression is classified into three types and this includes institutionalized oppression, that is built into, supported and perpetuated by institutions and the social structure, the second is interpersonal oppression that is displayed between individuals; and the third is internalized oppression, that is directed at oneself. Typically, when we think of oppression in the United States we think of the Civil Rights movement, and the unjust treatment of blacks that led to it. However, when we think of oppression today, we think of gay people and how they are still intentionally oppressed in some parts of the world They do not have the same rights as straight people, and it’s reflected in laws denying them the right to marry and telling them they have to keep quiet about their orientation should they join the military or play in a professional sports league like the NBA, NFL or NHL.
The sociological perspective is defined as the special point of view of sociology that sees general patterns of society in the lives of particular people. The concept as explained by John Stuart Mills clearly demonstrates this as it shows how personal troubles such as the loss of a job can be turned into public issues. Mills shows this explaining that if one person loses a job it is a personal issue but if 10,000 people all lost their jobs that issue will be turned into an public issue. Another example he uses is a marriage showing the sociological perspective. In a similar situation to the loss of a job example if one couple got a divorce it is classed as a personal issue but if a quarter of marriages ended in divorce society will need to view this as structural issue where the problems arise from above us from the institutions. It all links in with the idea that we blame ourselves for problems in our lives rather than trying to think outside the box and realize the problems arise from society as a whole not just the individual.
In my opinion, when discussing who is more powerful: the institution of organized religion, the group or the individual, it depends on the place that we are talking about. If we are talking about the Vatican, it is a part of the institution of organized religion and is led by a group of individuals. Here, this group of individuals is considered the ultimate and hence they are the most powerful. On the other hand, if you look at North Korea, their leader was worshipped by the citizens. In the eyes of hte world, he may be considered a dictator who led a communist nation but for the people of that republic he brought about change in the socity. Therefore, when we discuss power is hard to determine who is more powerful among the institution of organized religion, the group or the individual because depending on where you live there will be different ideas and notions forming your sociological imagination.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. The WTO manages all trade agreements and negotiations that are signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. The pros of the WTO are that it promotes free trade; it raises world out-put levels via specialisation; it establishes a standard rule by law and terms of trade for greater effeciency; and it also updates all participating countries and banks to international standards and effeciency in terms of trade and commerce.
Apart from the pros there are also many cons to the WTO that affect some of its trade policies that could be unequal benefits awarded to developed countries and under developed countries. The unfair terms of trade benefit western nations more than they benefit the african nations when the two regions trade; certain under developed countries in parts of Africa and Latin America get marginalised due to lack of participation in world trade. The WTO also gives unfair pollitical leverage to larger economies via hegemony, for example America making use of economic sanctions and implicit threats of disengagement as a means to intervene into China’s domestic affairs such as human rights and ideological governance. In the WTO, decisions of the organization are often dominated by larger economies who have more voting power, as could be the case with the United States of America and the European Union.
Child labor is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school. Around the world and in the U. S., growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and into work. The International Labor Organization estimates that 215 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world, usually because they and their families are extremely poor. Large numbers of children work in commercial agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic service. Some children work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution or other traumatic activities such as serving as soldiers. Child laborers suffer extremely high illness and injury rates in underground mines, opencast mines, and quarries. Children as young as 6 or 7 years old break up rocks, and wash, sieve, and carry ore. Nine-year-olds work underground setting explosives and carrying loads. Children work in a range of mining operations, including gold, charcoal, chrome, diamonds and coal.Many children, especially girls, work in domestic service, sometimes starting as young as 5 or 6. This type of child labor is linked to child trafficking. Domestic child laborers can be victims of physical, emotional, and sometimes sexual abuse.
Debt continues to be a major burden for developing countries a decade and a half after the start of the debt crisis. The continued existence of Third World debt challenges the accepted view of North-South relationships, particularly that of a generous North providing significant resources for the Southern development. Countries have always borrowed to sort out temporary difficulties paying their import bills or to provide investment for major projects. Debt in itself isn’t a problem when loans have been used productively and the borrower is able to repay. So how did these countries get so deeply into debt? The root crisis is to be found in the quadrupling oil prices in 1973. This generated billions of surplus $ for oil producing countries, much of which was deposited in Western banks. The banks were anxious to lend the $ to earn interest and to prevent a recession in the industrialised world, by ensuring LEDCs were able to continue to import from the North. This action was supported by the IMF (International Monetary Fund). While the major burden of the debt crisis lies on the people of the South of the globe, the North has not escaped unaffected. There are a number of ways the debt crisis is indirectly affecting the North: deforestation – global warming; drugs as countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, which rely on cocaine to repay its debts.