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Sheeple-Why Do People Conform? Term Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1672

Term Paper

Sheeple is a term used to describe people who blindly follow the herd or those in positions of authority. The term is often used to describe how people conform to societal norms and expectations without question. People may conform for various reasons, including peer pressure, fear of rejection, or simply because it is easier than standing out from the crowd. While conformity can have its benefits, such as ensuring that people follow the rules and laws, it can also lead to negative outcomes, such as people going along with harmful or unethical practices. Sociologists study conformity to understand better why and how it happens and how it affects individuals and society. People conform for various reasons, including peer pressure, fear of rejection, or simply because it is easier than standing out from the crowd. While conformity can have its benefits, such as ensuring that people follow the rules and laws, it can also lead to negative outcomes, such as people going along with harmful or unethical practices. Sociologists study conformity to understand better why and how it happens and how it affects individuals and society. There are a variety of sociological theories that can be used to explain conformity. Social interactions, for example, focus on the ways that people interact with each other to conform. This theory posits that people conform to fit in with those around them. Social norms also play a role in conformity-people conform to uphold society’s expectations. Power and authority can also lead to conformity, as people may go along with what those in positions of power tell them to do. Conformity is a common phenomenon in society, and it can have both positive and negative effects. By understanding why and how people conform, sociologists can better understand society as a whole. The essay discusses the topic’s background and then applies two sociological theories-social structure and social inequality to better explain conformity.

Theoretical Perspectives

There are a variety of sociological theories that can be used to explain conformity. Social structure theory, for example, focuses on the ways that people interact with each other to conform. This theory posits that people conform to fit in with those around them. Social norms also play a role in conformity-people conform to uphold society’s expectations. Additionally, power and authority can also lead to conformity, as people may go along with what those in positions of power tell them to do.

Concept 1: Social Structure

The concept of social structure theory is that people conform to fit in with those around them. In other words, people want to be like everyone else in their social group to feel accepted. This can lead to pressure to conform to certain behaviors or beliefs (Nadel, 2013). Social structure theory can help explain why people go along with harmful or unethical practices, even if they do not agree personally (Zollman, 2010). This is because they may feel like they have to conform to fit in with those around them. Social structure theory can also help explain why people may conform even when it goes against their personal beliefs (Zollman, 2010). For example, someone may go along with a practice that they think is wrong because they do not want to be seen as different from everyone else. Social structure theory can help us better understand the pressure to conform and why people may go along with practices they do not agree with (Nadel, 2013). For example, the Arab Spring was a time of political and social upheaval in the Middle East. During this time, people took to social media to share their experiences and connect with others going through similar things. This helped create a sense of solidarity and unity among those fighting for change (Nadel, 2013). Social media played a role in facilitating conformity by helping people to connect with others who were fighting for the same cause. This sense of solidarity helped create a movement that was able to effect change on a large scale.

When the Arab Spring began, many people in the Middle East lived in repressive regimes. They were not allowed to express their opinions publicly or participate in political activities (Nadel, 2013). For instance, in Saudi Arabia, women were not allowed to drive and were required to have a male guardian (Zollman, 2010). In addition, people in the Middle East faced censorship and restrictions on their freedom of speech (Zollman, 2010). This made it difficult for people to express their opinions openly. However, social media provided a way for people to connect and share their experiences. Another instance of conformity can be seen in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Social media played a role in facilitating the spread of fake news (Nadel, 2013). This fake news often reinforced people’s preexisting beliefs and led them to conformity. For example, many people who supported Donald Trump were exposed to fake news stories that said Hillary Clinton was part of a child trafficking ring. This fake news story reinforced people’s beliefs that Clinton was corrupt and helped sway their vote in the election.

Concept 2: Social Inequality

The Me Too movement is a perfect example of how social inequality can lead to conformity. The Me Too movement started as a way for women to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault and quickly gained traction on social media (Pipyrou, 2018). Women who had previously been afraid to speak out against their abusers were empowered by the stories of others and felt less alone in their experiences. The Me Too movement also showed how social media could be used to facilitate conformity by providing a platform for women to share their stories. It helped create a sense of solidarity and showed the power of speaking out against sexual misconduct. For example, the Stanford Prison Experiment is a perfect example of how power and authority can lead to conformity (Zimbardo, Maslach, & Haney, 2000). In this experiment, college students were divided into two groups-guards and prisoners. The guards were given all the power, while the prisoners were treated as second-class citizens. The experiment quickly spiraled out of control, with the guards using their power to mistreat the prisoners (Zimbardo, Maslach, & Haney, 2000). The prisoners, in turn, began to conform to the expectations of their role-they became compliant and submissive. The Stanford Prison Experiment shows how power and authority can lead people to conform, even when it goes against their natural inclinations.

The Milgram Experiment is a perfect example of how social norms can lead to conformity. In this experiment, people were asked to give electric shocks to another person, even when they showed signs of pain. The majority of people went along with the experiment, even when it was clear that they were causing harm. The Milgram Experiment shows how social norms can lead people to do things that they would otherwise not do simply because it is what is expected of them (Bicchieri, 2008). The experiment also highlights the power of authority-those in charge of the experiment were able to convince people to do things that they would not normally do. Therefore, social inequality, power, and authority can lead to conformity. Social norms also play a role in conformity-people conform to uphold society’s expectations (Bicchieri, 2008). Additionally, people may conform to fit in with those around them. All of these factors contribute to why people conform.

Application to Real-World

The application of social structure and social inequality theories to the real world can be seen in various ways. For example, sociological theories can help to explain why people conform. In addition, they can also help to explain how power and authority can lead to conformity (Feldman, 2003). Finally, sociological theories can help to explain how social norms can lead to conformity. These factors contribute to why people conform, and understanding them can help create a more just and equal society. The application of social structure and social inequality theories can also be seen in how they can help explain social phenomena. For example, sociological theories can help to explain why certain groups are more likely to experience poverty or why women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence (Kelly, 2011). Understanding these factors can help create policies and programs that address these problems. Sociological theories can help to explain how social change occurs. For example, social structure and social inequality theories can help to explain why revolutions occur or why some groups are more likely to experience social mobility than others. Understanding these factors can help to create a more just and equal society.

Conclusion

In conclusion, social structure and social inequality theories can help explain various real-world phenomena. They can help to explain why people conform, how power and authority can lead to conformity, and how social norms can lead to conformity. Additionally, they can help to explain why certain groups are more likely to experience poverty or why women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Understanding these factors can help to create a more just and equal society.

References

Bicchieri, C. (2008). The fragility of fairness: An experimental investigation on the conditional status of pro-social norms. Philosophical issues18, 229-248.

Feldman, S. (2003). Enforcing social conformity: A theory of authoritarianism. Political psychology24(1), 41-74.

Kelly, U. A. (2011). Theories of intimate partner violence: From blaming the victim to acting against injustice: Intersectionality as an analytic framework. Advances in Nursing Science34(3), E29-E51.

Lenski, G. E. (2013). Power and privilege: A theory of social stratification. UNC Press Books.

Nadel, S. F. (2013). The theory of social structure. Routledge.

Pipyrou, S. (2018). # MeToo is little more than mob rule//vs//# MeToo is a legitimate form of social justice. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory8(3), 415-419.

Zimbardo, P. G., Maslach, C., & Haney, C. (2000). Reflections on the Stanford prison experiment: Genesis, transformations, consequences. Obedience to authority: Current perspectives on the Milgram paradigm, 193-237.

Zollman, K. J. S. (2010). Social structure and the effects of conformity. Synthese172(3), 317-340.

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