Opportunity: Groups are Not Individuals, But We Act LikeThey Are
Despite considering sociology a simple enough subject to learn at university, most students and people in general struggle to think in the terms and scales of sociology. When thinking of corporations, parties and other kinds of groups most people think of them as of individuals just like they are. Hereby, it is believed that groups function in the same way as individuals. This is completely wrong. Mentioned kinds of groups are complex networks which behave like a non-linear chain reaction. The interactions between the elements within these systems are called emergent phenomena.
The reason of misperceiving the nature of social groups functioning is that human mind struggles to deal with the complexity of interactions between the elements of the system, which, in their turn, are smaller systems. Instead of trying to comprehend it, people replace the whole system with fictitious representative individuals, whose actions are explainable by the logic of an individual behavior. But despite all the groups consist of individuals, they never act like a separate person. Realizing this fact is a basic yet very important step on the way of becoming a sociologist.
1) Complex network – art class. Components – teachers, director, students, service staff. Interactions – teachers teach students, students learn from teachers, teachers, students and service staff follow guidance from director. Purpose – increase students’ proficiency in painting.
2) Creation of iPhone is basically an emergent phenomenon of complex network called “Apple Inc.” It was a result of interaction between directors, engineers, designers, researchers, service staff, management, accountants and factory workers. It wasn’t Steve Jobs assembling a phone and cleaning the room in the end of the day.
3) One single politician, even in charge, cannot change the whole system, because he can only act on a certain level, which is the highest one and very slowly affecting the low levels. Community judges the work of a politician basing on the observable result of functioning of the lower level of system.
4) Emergent phenomenon of progression to dancers at the school dance can be explained in terms of imitation behavior dynamics. The more people start to dance the more likely they will be joined by someone else. In the end, most of people with some level of conformity will end up dancing with the majority.
Should White Parents Be Allowed to Adopt Children of Color? There is a dilemma with transracial adoption in our country. On one hand, the majority of those who adopt are White. On the other hand, the majority of those who can be adopted are non-white. So the question emerges: is it possible for White families to develop a healthy racial identity in the children of color. The situation had been changing since the 1970-s form the total prohibition to adopt children that are not of your race to the color-blind adoption laws of nowadays, legislated in 1990-s. It is inappropriate now …