Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Social Unrest in the Social Imagination

Social unrest has more to do with social and system integration than it does with anything else. We are after all just information exchanged in the social imagination.

            David Lockwood, a British sociologist, wrote that social integration refers to the basis on which people related to each other in society; that is, whether social relationships are orderly or conflictual. System integration refers to relationships between parts of the social system that is whether social institutions are compatible or incompatible. Though, institutions of society might be functionally well integrated there could be major conflicts between individuals or social groups [Abercrombie, Hill and Turner].

Take a good look around. What do you see? Is there a problem with system integration? Seems that appears to be the case if we consider that many long time accepted and trusted institutions have become objects of unrest, injustice, and discrimination. Is there a problem with social integration because of system failure. Yes and no. As you know, in post of my posts, I am always giving the positive and negative of what we experience as social reality - the exchange of information in the social imagination .

I have always told students, what is my data bank of social information is not exactly the same as yours. I come from a different generation, I experienced life having lesser forms of technology, I lived in an ethnic and disassociated neighborhood; as it was on the other side of the tracks.I was poor by today's standards, and I did not get to college until much later. I grew up in an Italian/Polish ethnic family group and Catholic.

Even so, I thought that America was the greatest country on the face of the earth. We pledged allegiance to the flag and went to picnics on the 4th and played baseball. I watched television as if it were a national public service and back then it was, at least more than it is now. There was less violence and sexual material and more TV shows having nuclear families (both White and African American) and Christian values ... well, I supposed they were everyone's.

I listened to Rock and Roll, Motown and Country music. I watched Soul Train as much I was Dick Clark. I had African American neighbors and danced with Mark Williams at the 8th grade dance. I thought our country was fair and right; that was why so many people were seeking refuge, asylum, a new home. I still lived in the melting pot and thought that newbies could just blend in because they made the choice to come, they wanted to be American. For the most part, they did; just as my great grandparents did.

What has happened?  Speaking as a sociologist, I can say that what holds a group of people together, as in a state or nation is what they value. Jobs are important but the government does not need to sponsor them. People need to make their own jobs. That is possible when there is less top down control and less regulation and more local autonomy. If a group of people value freedom they will survive and they will share what they have since everyone is able to contribute to the whole through their own efforts and will which is not being suppressed by restrictions and bureaucracy. You see, freedom to make choices is what Max Weber pointed. By making our own choices, have the freedom to do that, we embrace the self and applaud that and all who embrace it. This is system integration by its own accord.

Anything else will be social unrest in the social imagination.

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