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Social Interactions and Politics, Essay Example

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The video regarding social interactions discuss the way people impact other people, and people change based on these actions. “What happens when a wave of change happens to a social structure and our societal harmony is disrupted?” was a question that was posed early on in the film.  This brought to mind the recent presidential election, since the demographics of the United States have changed over the last few decades, with a tremendous increase in the Latino population which, combined with the numbers of African Americans and other people of color has changed the nature of the electorate.  A presidential candidate can no longer win an election if he or she does not reach out to these other groups; Mitt Romney learned that lesson the hard way, since he was unable to garner any significant percentage of the population other than white males.Herbert Spencer in England argued that laws of human organization would focus on the growing size and complexity of society as these forces created pressures for ( a) increased exchange and interdependence among people and organizations of society and ( b) increased use of power to regulate, control, and coordinate activities of people and organizational units.  In my view, the demographics playing such an important role in the election results reflect an example of the sort of functionalism described by Spencer (Turner.)

The film discusses the rationality principle, the concept that people will change their behavior based on what it or not they think they will be better off or worse, that is, they act in a way that is almost like a cost benefit analysis: what will I gain or lose from this interaction?  The example given in the film was that when someone walks into a group or meeting in a work setting, they make decisions about who to approach based on what might bring them a positive networking experience.To me, pertaining to the election, this was a description of the ways that Governor Romney altered his behavior and language to “fit in” with whatever group to whom he was talking.  When he was speaking with his right wing conservative base, he altered his positions to accommodate their points of view.  When he was speaking to specific ethnic groups, he uses language that he thought would be familiar to them.  On the other hand, the video also explain that sometimes people do not make the rational choice, but are motivated by a desire to help others and this is also part of Mitt Romney’s story: he spent many years overseas serving as a missionary and is also a person who is donated a great deal of money to his church, illustrating the principle of fairness.

The video also describe social structures, groups that are formed based on status, roles, and other common elements that draw people together.  Virtually every aspect of our being— thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and behavior— is influenced by participation in social structures (Turner.) This concept was relevant to the election as well, since certain demographic groups such as women, gays, African Americans, working class men, and other groups proved to be vital to theresults of the election since they voted as individuals but appeared to also take into account their social groups’ interests.  For example, women who were offended by the discussion of rape and contraception tended to vote for Democrats because there had been so many examples of Republicans making outrageous statements about those topics.

Works Cited

Exploring Society. Dir. Ken Henson. 2012.

Turner, Jonathan. Sociology. Riverside: Pearson, 2006.

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