Woolcock, definitions found in peer-reviewed journal articles on social capital published in The variability evident in the table above may suggest that the definitional difficulties that have plagued social capital theory have not yet been resolved, or if there is a resolution, it is not being observed by many authors.
This may be because Putnam was responsible for the widespread popularity of the concept, and this popularity may persist. There are more specific and tangible definitions, however, in my view they often omit important elements of the concept. This means many aspects of the cognitive dimension of social capital are excluded since they relate to the wider social context rather than being a characteristic of specific relationships.
Under this conception, civic norms are not social capital [unless they reinforce the social position and status. Understandings of civic norms could be relevant, since for Bourdieu social capital is the property of the individual so an understanding of norms, or rules of the game, is an advantage.
Thick trust is an important part of social capital, grounded in reputation and goodwill embedded in relationships, however, is thin or generalised trust relevant? By conceptualising social capital as access to resources through network ties, the complexity and intangible nature of relational and cognitive dimensions is avoided.
However, under the surface these difficulties remain when we explore the nature of the social structure that enables access to these resources and the processes that facilitate the actions required to access them. This may be because their definition appears to position social capital as the property of the individual, despite the inclusion of relational and cognitive dimensions in the conceptualisation.
James Colman Coleman received relatively few citations for definitions of social capital despite being commonly accepted as one of the contemporary authors on the concept. This is likely because he treated social capital as almost universally productive while ignoring inequality that results or causes differential power and status.
Considerations when defining social capital The definitions above represent a variety of perspectives on social capital. The main reason for the significant variation evident in these definitions is that some authors treat social capital as the property of the individual, some treat it as the property of the collective, and some see it as having both individual and collective properties. There are two key questions that will likely influence how you define and conceptualise social capital.
Unsurprisingly they relate to the meaning of its constituent words since both are open for interpretation. Is social capital the property of the individual, the property of the collective, or does it have both individual and collective components?
There is little consensus on these questions in the literature. While I believe it is essential to be clear on these points there may be no right answers to these questions. For example, is it incorrect to conceptualise social capital as a private property involving a narrow definition of capital?
I can rigorously substantiate this position however this does not make other approaches invalid. What is important is clarity and consistency of approach, and the ability to explain and justify it.
You should be clear about the approach you take on social capital and your definition must match how you conceptualise and operationalise the concept. If you are unsure of what approach to take the following question may help you reach some clarity: Is holding a door open for a stranger an example of an outcome of social capital? If yes, then social capital has collective properties since this action is not embedded in specific social relationships. Since the interaction is between strangers the interaction is not based on relational properties such as norms of trust or reciprocity that are established by repeat interaction between individuals.
Instead it is based on civic norms, generalised trust, and understandings that are generally shared, not embedded in a specific network. Despite this, it may or may not be related to social capital depending on how you define it. This is one of the key questions of the social sciences: what makes humans cooperative?
Normative influence is an important aspect of most, perhaps all, conceptions of social capital. Norms develop through repeat interaction so have relational properties i. Therefore, the norms related to a relationship do not develop in isolation and are influenced by experiences beyond the relationship.
If you take a network approach to social capital, then you must be clear about the boundaries of what is relevant and the justification for what is included and excluded from consideration. What definition of social capital do I use? For me, none of them adequately capture the full meaning of the concept or leave too much conceptual ambiguity. For me, social capital has a network component, involving social relationships, but also involving shared understandings that are not necessarily embedded in existing relationships.
For the last 15 years I have resisted the temptation to proffer my own definition of social capital since I support the criticism of the many authors who have done just that. To date I have done what many other authors have done; include several definitions from prominent authors without nominating an accepted definition.
I have convinced myself that collectively these definitions are sufficient to communicate the meaning of the concept. The table below contains definitions from some relatively rarely cited publications that I find interesting. They are rarely cited relative to the popular publications detailed above, many of which have over 50, Google Scholar citations. Table 2. Although most of these definitions have some shortcomings, they get to the core intuition of social capital.
This study of academic articles published in is a very small sample. I welcome suggestions on the most popular and appropriate definitions of social capital. Methodological notes The attribution of definition is claimed by the author through citation. Some authors directly quote definitions while others paraphrase.
Some authors provide more than one definition, and, in these cases, they did not always clarify which definition will be used for the study — for many authors it seems definitional precision is not of great importance.
This is perhaps not surprising considering the general lack of clarity in the conception of social capital. Those authors who used their own definition of social capital may have borrowed heavily from existing and accepted definitions without directly quoting them.
Others clearly shaped a definition to suit their study, further contributing to the bastardisation of the concept as discussed by critics. Results Table 3. Li et al. It consists of social networks, norms of reciprocity, or social support and social trust. Kordan et al. Fitzsimons et al. King et al. Publications referring to structural, cognitive, and or relational dimensions Publication.
Distinguish between different levels of analysis in sociology: Micro, Meso, Macro and Global Distinguish between the form and content of social interaction Describe the paradox of the modern individual Describe the social dimensions of emotional life Explain why the operation of a group is more than the sum of its parts Distinguish between primary and secondary groups as two key sociological groups Describe in-groups, out-groups, and reference groups as subtypes of primary and secondary groups.
Distinguish between different types and styles of leadership. Describe how conformity is impacted by group membership. It is rife with unacknowledged rituals, tacit understandings, covert symbolic exchanges, impression management techniques, and calculated strategic maneuverings. The Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman went to the Shetland Islands in the s to do fieldwork on the social structure of the island community for his PhD dissertation.
However, he found that the complex interpersonal relationships in the hotel he stayed at to be a much richer site for social study. Figure 6. Goffman describes the way that people try to control the impression they make on others in social encounters. They want to be received well. They want to be taken as credible. In the Shetland Islands, Goffman observed how islanders were sometimes amused to watch the manners of neighbours who dropped in for a cup of tea.
As there were no impediments to the view in front of the simple cottages and no electric lights inside, they were well positioned to see how the neighbour would drop one expression as he or she approached and adopt another as they entered the door.
Successful impression management requires an awareness of both the expressions that one gives and the expressions that one gives off. In this manner Goffman examines how impression management in social interaction always involves some degree of cynical performance. The line the individual adopts in any social encounter expresses their view of the situation, their attitude towards the other members of the group, and especially, their attitude towards themselves.
Face is an image of self delineated in terms of approved social attributes—albeit an image that others may share, as when a person makes a good showing for his profession or religion by making a good showing for himself Goffman, They present themselves as humble, sincere, knowledgeable, decisive, aggressive, or easygoing, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the social crowd present.
Goffman remarks that whether they intentionally take a specific line or present a specific face, or not, they will find that the others assume they have done so and will act towards them accordingly. If they are a professor, they might misspell a word on the blackboard, which undermines their claim to rarefied knowledge and erudition.
If they are a new MLA Member of the Legislative Assembly , they might have to account for inappropriate pictures or posts on their Facebook page which undermine their claim to have the requisite responsibility and perspicuity for the job. If they are a driver, the hint of liquor on their breath might undermine the appearance of sobriety they wish to display to a police officer at a check stop.
An elaborate system of tact and etiquette evolves to which the participants in a face-to-face encounter consciously or unconsciously submit, even when they have their doubts about the credibility of a performance, so that the group as a whole can maintain face. Goffman illustrates the way in which even the seemingly free and spontaneous interactions of everyday life are governed by intricate and predictable structures of self-presentation and mutual accommodation. A society is a group of people whose members interact, reside in a definable area, and share a culture.
One sociologist might analyze video of people from different societies as they carry on everyday conversations to study the rules of polite conversation from different world cultures. Another sociologist might interview a representative sample of people to see how email and instant messaging have changed the way organizations are run.
Yet another sociologist might study how migration determined the way in which language spread and changed over time. A fourth sociologist might study the history of international agencies like the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund to examine how the globe became divided into a First World and a Third World after the end of the colonial era.
These examples illustrate the ways in which society and culture can be studied at different levels of analysis, from the detailed study of face-to-face interactions to the examination of large-scale historical processes affecting entire civilizations.
It is common to divide these levels of analysis into different gradations based on the scale of interaction involved. Generally speaking, sociologists break the study of society down into four separate levels of analysis: micro, meso, macro, and global.
In Sociology we focus primarily on the theoretical and methodological approaches which facilitate sociological analysis at the micro and meso scales of social interaction. In Sociology , the focus shifts to those theoretical and methodological approaches which are more suited to macro and global levels of analysis. It is important to keep in mind, however, that in the world of everyday social reality the multiple layers of social reality co-exist and are inter-related.
At the micro-level of analysis, the focus is on the social dynamics of face-to-face interaction: How are specific individuals in specific locations able to interact in a coherent and consistent manner?
For example, how is a conversation possible? How do you know when it is your turn to speak or when someone has been speaking too long? We will discuss the analysis of various types of social interaction at the micro-level later in this Module.
At the meso-level of analysis, the focus shifts to the characteristics of specific networks, groups, and organizations i. The meso-level refers to the connection, interaction and ongoing coordination of numerous different social roles simultaneously. When we speak of a school, for example, we need to move beyond the analysis of single face-to-face interactions—interactions in a single setting where participants are co-present—to examine the combined interactions and relationships between students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
At this level, we ask, how do the properties of different types of social collectivity affect or alter the actions of individuals? How do collectivities constrain or enable their members to act in certain ways? What is it about collectivities that entice people to conform, or resist? In these meso-level examples we are still talking about specific, identifiable individuals—albeit not necessarily in direct face-to-face situations—but take into account the complex entwinement of their lives to account for their social actions and interactions.
In this Module, we draw on the theoretical insights of Simmel to examine how group identification and membership impacts the social actions and interactions of individuals. At the macro-level of analysis, the focus is on the properties of large-scale, society-wide social interactions: the dynamics of institutions, classes, or whole societies. The macro therefore extends beyond the immediate milieu or direct experience of individuals.
These large-scale social structures might be nothing more than the aggregations of specific interactions between individuals at any particular moment as Simmel argues. However, the properties of structures, institutions, and societies — described by statistical analysis, cross-cultural comparisons, or historical research — also have a reality that Emile Durkheim called sui generis i.
The properties that make society possible at a macro scale cannot be explained by, or reduced to, their components without missing their most important features.
In global-level sociology, the focus is on structures and processes that extend beyond the boundaries of states or specific societies. The way in which the world became divided into wealthy First World and impoverished Third World societies reflects social processes — the formation of international institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and non-governmental organizations, for example — which are global in scale and global in their effects.
With the boom and bust of petroleum or other export commodity economies, it is clear to someone living in Fort McMurray, Alberta, that their daily life is affected not only by their intimate relationships with the people around them, nor only by provincial and national based corporations and policies, etc. The context of these processes has to be analysed at a global scale of analysis, but their effects may be experienced at the macro, meso and micro levels of social reality. The relationship between the micro, macro, and global remains one of the key conceptual problems confronting sociology.
While suicide is one of the most personal, individual, and intimate acts imaginable, Durkheim demonstrated that rates of suicide differed between religious communities — Protestants, Catholics, and Jews — in a way that could not be explained by the individual factors involved in each specific case. The different rates of suicide had to be explained by macro-level variables associated with the different religious beliefs and practices of the faith communities; more specifically, the different degrees of social integration of these communities.
On the other hand, macro-level phenomena like class structures, institutional organizations, legal systems, gender stereotypes, population growth, and urban ways of life provide the shared context for everyday life but do not explain its specific nuances and micro-variations very well. Symbolic Interaction and Everyday Social Interaction How do we understand the way a definition of the situation comes to be established in everyday social interaction?
Social interaction is in crucial respects symbolic interaction—interaction which is mediated by the exchange and interpretation of symbols. In symbolic interaction, people contrive to reach a mutual understanding of each other and of the tasks at hand through the exchange and interpretation of symbols.
Only on this basis can a coordinated action be accomplished. The process of communication is the central quality of the human social environment. Social interaction depends on communication. But our ideas are in fact nebulous. Moreover, it operates primarily based on indications or gestures of meaning that call out responses in others. Herbert Blumer clarifies the three parts of these communication processes as follows.
Ones own and the others actions are symbolic in that they refer beyond themselves to meanings which call out for the response of the other: a they indicate to the other what they are expected to do, b they indicate what the speaker plans to do, and c on this basis they form a mutual definition of the situation that indicates how a joint action will be agreed upon, carried out, and accomplished. A robber tells a victim to put his or her hands up, which indicates a what the victim is supposed to do i.
In this model of communication, the definition of the situation, or mutual understanding of the tasks at hand, arises out of ongoing communicative interaction. Situations are not defined in advance, nor are they defined by the isolated understandings of the individuals involved. They are defined by the indications of meaning given by participants and the responses by the others. Even the most habitualized situations involve a process of symbolic interaction in which a definition of the situation emerges through a mutual interpretation of signs or indications.
Roles are patterns of behaviour expected of a person who occupies particular social status or position in society. Currently, while reading this text, you are playing the role of a student.
Sociologists use the term status to describe the access to resources and benefits a person experiences according to the rank or prestige of his or her role in society. Some statuses are ascribed—those you do not select, such as son, elderly person, or female. Others, called achieved statuses, are obtained by personal effort or choice, such as a high school dropout, self-made millionaire, or nurse. As a daughter or son, you occupy a different status than as a neighbour or employee.
One person can be associated with a multitude of roles and statuses. If too much is required of a single role, individuals can experience role strain. Consider the duties of a parent: cooking, cleaning, driving, problem solving, acting as a source of moral guidance—the list goes on. Similarly, a person can experience role conflict when one or more roles are contradictory.
A parent who also has a full-time career can experience role conflict on a daily basis. When there is a deadline at the office but a sick child needs to be picked up from school, which comes first?
When you are working toward a promotion but your children want you to come to their school play, which do you choose? Being a college student can conflict with being an employee, being an athlete, or even being a friend. Our roles in life have a great effect on our decisions and on who we become.
All we can observe is behaviour, or role performance. In this sense, individuals in social contexts are always performers. The focus on the importance of role performance in everyday life led Erving Goffman — to develop a framework called dramaturgical analysis.
He recognized that people played their roles and engaged in interaction theatrically, often following common social scripts and using props and costumes to support their roles. For example, he notes that simply wearing a white lab coat brings to mind in the observer stock images of cleanliness, modernity, scrupulous exactitude and authoritative knowledge. Whether the perfume clerk was clinically competent or not, the lab coat was used to bolster the impression that he or she was.
Today, even without the lab coats, an analogous repertoire of props, sets and scripts are used to convey the clean, clinical, and confidential tasks of the perfume clerk. Perfume shop in Mumbai, India. Individuals project an image of themselves that, once proposed, they find themselves committed to for the duration of the encounter. Their presentation defines the situation but also entails that certain lines of responsive action will be available to them while others will not.
Therefore, the norms related to a relationship do not develop in isolation and are influenced by experiences beyond the relationship. If you take a network approach to social capital, then you must be clear about the boundaries of what is relevant and the justification for what is included and excluded from consideration.
What definition of social capital do I use? For me, none of them adequately capture the full meaning of the concept or leave too much conceptual ambiguity. For me, social capital has a network component, involving social relationships, but also involving shared understandings that are not necessarily embedded in existing relationships.
For the last 15 years I have resisted the temptation to proffer itb airbox design own definition of social capital since I support the criticism of the many authors who have done just that.
To date I have done what many other authors have done; include several definitions from prominent authors without nominating an accepted definition.
I have convinced myself that collectively these definitions are sufficient to communicate the meaning of the concept. The table below contains definitions from some relatively rarely cited publications that I find interesting. They are rarely cited relative to the popular publications detailed above, many of which have over 50, Google Scholar citations.
Table 2. Although most of these definitions have some shortcomings, they get to the core intuition of social capital. This study of academic articles published in is a very small sample. I welcome suggestions on the most popular and appropriate definitions of social capital.
Methodological notes The attribution of definition is claimed by the author through citation. Some authors directly quote definitions while others paraphrase. Some authors provide more than one definition, and, in these cases, they did not always clarify which definition will be used for the study — for many authors it seems definitional precision is not of great importance. This is perhaps not surprising considering the general lack of clarity in the conception of social capital.
Those authors who used their own definition of social capital may have borrowed heavily from existing and accepted definitions without directly quoting them. It is probably no mere historical accident that the word person, in its first meaning, is a mask. Micro-level Interaction and Social Structure Social interaction is the process of reciprocal influence exercised by individuals over one another during social encounters. Usually it refers to face-to-face encounters in which people are physically present with one another for a specified duration.
However, in contemporary society we can also think of social encounters that are technologically mediated like texting, skyping, or messaging. In terms of the different levels of analysis in sociology—micro, meso, macro, and global—social interaction is generally approached at the micro-level where the structures and social scripts, the pre-established patterns of behaviour that people are expected to follow in specific social situations, that govern the relationship between particular individuals can be examined.
However, as the sociological study of emotions indicates, the micro-level processes of everyday life are also impacted by macro-level phenomena such as gender inequality and historical transformations.
The other person, or the social situation itself, brings on an emotion that otherwise would not arise. However, sociological research has shown that our emotions also can have a systematic, socially structured quality of which we are not immediately aware. Studies of face-to-face conversations show that the outward signs of emotion like smiling or laughing are not equally distributed.
For example, the predisposition to show emotion by laughing in a conversation is structured by differences in gender, status, role, and norm. Robert Provine studied two-person conversations, observed discretely in public places like shopping malls. He discovered that when a woman was speaking and a man was listening the woman laughed more than twice as much as the man. Similarly when a man was speaking and a woman listening, she was still more likely to laugh than him.
Provine suggests that this shows that males lead in producing humour while females lead in laughing at humour, but it might also show a pattern of social deference reflecting the unequal social status of men and women.
How a culture laughs, when it laughs and at what it laughs also varies through history. Jokes often hone in on what we are most anxious about as a culture. The Roman Classicist Mary Beard argues that while it is very difficult to go from the recorded literature to a confident appraisal of what laughter and its place in social life in ancient Rome was like, the nature of the jokes the Romans told reveals an anxiety about the ability to demonstrate identity unique to Roman culture. The Emperor Commodus depicted recently in the film Gladiator, Roman statues do not depict their subjects with smiles.
What does the absence of a culture of smiling indicate about the emotional experience of everyday social interaction in ancient Rome? He decapitated an ostrich and threatened the Roman senators in the front row by waving its head and neck at them. What a modern audience would probably find horrifying or disgusting, the Roman senator Dio Cassius found so ridiculous he had to bite down on a laurel leaf from the wreath he was wearing to suppress his urge to giggle Beard The Romans might have turned their mouths up at the corners but the smile was not a significant gesture in their social interaction.
There are no accounts of smiling in Roman literature. Beard concludes that the culture of the smile that figures so prominently in modern life smiling when we meet someone, smiling to show pleasure, smiling in photographs, etc. Medieval scholars suggest that the culture of the smile was not invented until the middle ages Beard In fact our emotional life follows detailed cultural scripts and feeling rules.
Feeling rules are a set of socially shared guidelines that direct how we want to try to feel and not to feel emotions according to given situations Hochschild, We are obliged to systematically manage our emotions in response to different social situations.
We know feeling rules, too, from how others react to what they infer from our emotive display. Do funeral selfies violate deeply held feeling rules? Selfies are the photographic self portraits taken with camera at arms length to be shared on social media. Taking and posting selfie photographs on social media like Instagram is commonly regarded as a frivolous, if not a purely narcissistic and self-absorbed pastime.
Taking selfies at funerals is seen to violate deeply held views about the solemnity and emotional tenor of funerals and the etiquette of mourning. It does not compute. I was too busy grieving the loss of someone that I loved.
For this commentator, it is not just that selfies are seen as frivolous, but that the people taking them do not know how to feel the appropriate feelings. She sees this as a character defect. The defender of funeral selfies, a mortician herself, makes a similar argument but from the other side of the issue. Emotions are therefore subject to more or less conscious practices of emotion management, the way individuals work on producing or inhibiting feelings according to the social expectations of different situations.
They are not as natural, spontaneous or involuntary as we typically assume. Moreover, this intimate and personal component of our life is subject to macro-level processes like commodification. In post-industrial societies, services—nursing and care professions, flight attendants, call center employees, waiters, sales clerks, teachers, community policing officers, therapists, etc. Managing emotion according to meticulous protocols becomes part of the job description because emotional tonality is part of the commodity being sold.
The philosopher Gilles Deleuze also noted the emotional or affective nature of power. Power for Deleuze is defined as the sense of being able to do something; feeling uninhibited. Powerlessness on the other hand is the sense of being unable to do something; feeling blocked. When we feel joy, we feel ourselves to be at the maximum of our power of action; we feel that we have fulfilled one of our abilities.
Joy is the expression of the experience of feeling empowered. When we feel sadness we feel separated new pakistani dramas 2018 our power of action; we feel that we failed to do something we could have done because of circumstances, or because we were prevented or forbidden from doing it.
Sadness is the expression of the experience of feeling disempowered. Deleuze argues that sadness is therefore the effect of a power that is exercised over us; we are prevented from realizing or fulfilling our powers of action. As Brym et al. Accessed 3 Feb. The individual and society. This way of thinking is what Goffman called the schoolboy attitude: the idea that we make our way in life and establish our identity and our merits by personal effort and individual character Goffman, In this way of thinking, the individual is understood to be independent of external influences; as having a private subjective interior life of memories, impressions, feelings, fantasies, likes and dislikes that is his or hers alone.
The individual makes free, rational, and autonomous decisions between different courses of action and is therefore individually responsible for his or her decisions and actions, etc. From this perspective, the individual is unique, and his or her authenticity resides in finding and expressing this uniqueness. However, these are ideas about the individual that go back to the political and ethical philosophies of the Enlightenment, the aesthetic reaction of the Romantic movement, and before that to the Stoic practices of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
We make ourselves into individuals. The inquiry of micro-level sociology is to examine the various ways in which the individual is produced in social interaction, just like any other artifact. He implores them to be themselves and not to follow him. The Crowd: Yes! The Crowd: Yes, we are all different! The Python troupe put their finger on the paradox of the modern idea of the individual.
The idea of the modern individual is to be defined by ones uniqueness and difference from all others. In a sense, one is obliged to be an individual in a manner that forces one to conform to the crowd. There is no individual choice in the matter. Paradoxically, to be different means to be the same in many important aspects. We are all individuals! But all cultures share common elements. Cultural universals are patterns or traits that are globally common to all societies.
One example of a cultural universal is the family unit: Every human society recognizes a family structure that regulates sexual reproduction and the care of children. Even so, how that family unit is defined and how it functions vary. In many Asian cultures, for example, family members from all generations commonly live together in one household. In Canada, by contrast, individuals are expected to leave home and live independently for a period before forming a family unit consisting of parents and their offspring.
Anthropologist George Murdock first recognized the existence of cultural universals while studying systems of kinship around the world. Murdock found that cultural universals often revolve around basic human survival, such as finding food, clothing, and shelter, or around shared human experiences, such as birth and death, or illness and healing.
Through his research, Murdock identified other universals including language, the concept of personal names, and, interestingly, jokes. Humour seems to be a universal way to release tensions and create a sense of unity among people Murdock, Sociologists consider humour necessary to human interaction because it helps individuals navigate otherwise tense situations.
Despite how much humans have in common, cultural differences are far more prevalent than cultural universals. For example, while all cultures have language, analysis of particular language structures and conversational etiquette reveals tremendous differences. In some Middle Eastern cultures, it is common to stand close to others in conversation. North Americans keep more distance, maintaining a large personal space.
Even something as simple as eating and drinking varies greatly from culture to culture. If your professor comes into an early morning class holding a mug of liquid, what do you assume she is drinking? The way cuisines vary across cultures fascinates many people. Almost everyone is a little bit ethnocentric. Someone from a country where dogs are considered dirty and unhygienic might find it off-putting to see a dog in a French restaurant.
But ethnocentrism can lead to disdain or dislike for other cultures, causing misunderstanding and conflict. European colonizers often viewed the people in the lands they colonized as uncultured savages who were in need of European governance, dress, religion, and other cultural practices.
On the West Coast of Canada, the Aboriginal potlatch gift-giving ceremony was made illegal in because it was thought to prevent Aboriginal peoples from acquiring the proper industriousness and respect for material goods required by civilization. A more modern example of cultural imperialism may include the work of international aid agencies who introduce modern technological agricultural methods and plant species from developed countries while overlooking indigenous varieties and agricultural approaches that are better suited to the particular region.
Ethnocentrism can be so strong that when confronted with all the differences of a new culture, one may experience disorientation and frustration. In sociology, we call this culture shock. A traveller from Toronto might find the nightly silence of rural Alberta unsettling, not peaceful. An exchange student from China might be annoyed by the constant interruptions in class as other students ask questions — a practice that is considered rude in China.
But as they experience unanticipated differences from their own culture, their excitement gives way to discomfort and doubts about how to behave appropriately in the new situation. Eventually, as people learn more about a culture, they recover from culture shock.
Culture shock may appear because people are not always expecting cultural differences. Anthropologist Ken Barger discovered this when conducting participatory observation in an Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic Originally from Indiana, Barger hesitated when invited to join a local snowshoe race. Sure enough, he finished last, to his mortification.
To the Inuit people winning was enjoyable, but their culture valued survival skills essential to their environment: How hard someone tried could mean the difference between life and death.
Over the course of his stay, Barger participated in caribou hunts, learned how to take shelter in winter storms, and sometimes went days with little or no food to share among tribal members. Trying hard and working together, two nonmaterial values, were indeed much more important than winning. Cultural relativism requires an open mind and a willingness to consider, and even adapt to, new values and norms.
The logic of cultural relativism is at the basis of contemporary policies of multiculturalism. However, indiscriminately embracing everything about a new culture is not always possible.
Even the most culturally relativist people from egalitarian societies, such as Canada — societies in which women have political rights and control over their own bodies — would question whether the widespread practice of female genital circumcision in countries such as Ethiopia and Sudan should be accepted as a part of a cultural tradition.
Sociologists attempting to engage in cultural relativism may struggle to reconcile aspects of their own culture with aspects of a culture they are studying. Nor does an appreciation for another culture preclude individuals from studying it with a critical eye. In the case of female genital circumcision, a universal right to life and liberty of the person conflicts with the neutral stance of cultural relativism. It is not necessarily ethnocentric to be critical of practices that violate universal standards of human dignity that are contained in the cultural codes of all cultures, while not necessarily followed in practice.
Not every practice can be regarded as culturally relative. Cultural traditions are not immune from power imbalances and liberation movements that seek to correct them.
Social Groups and Social Networks 6. But what does it mean to be part of a group? The concept of a group is central to much of how we think about society and human interaction.
Society exists in groups. For Simmel, society did not exist otherwise. What fascinated him was the way in which people mutually attune to one another to create relatively enduring forms.
In a group, individuals behave differently than they would if they were alone. They conform, they resist, they forge alliances, they cooperate, they betray, they organize, they defer gratification, they show respect, they expect obedience, they share, they manipulate, etc. At this meso-level of interaction, being in a group changes their behaviour and their abilities. And it is with their emergence that society too emerges, for they are neither the cause nor the consequence of society but are, themselves, society.
This is one of the founding insights of sociology: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The group has properties over and above the properties of its individual members. It has a reality sui generis, of its own kind. How can we hone the meaning of the term group more precisely for sociological purposes?
In short, the term refers to any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and who share a sense that their identity is somehow aligned with the group.
Of course, every time people gather, they do not necessarily form a group. An audience assembled to watch a street performer is a one-time random gathering. Conservative-minded people who come together to vote in an election are not a group because the members do not necessarily interact with one another with some frequency.
6.0 Introduction to Social Interaction
People who exist in the same place at the same time, but who do not interact or share a sense of identity — such as a bunch of people standing in line at Starbucks — are considered an aggregate, or a crowd.
People who share similar characteristics but are not otherwise tied to one another in any way are bk shivani husband a category.
An example of a category would be Millennials, the term given to all children born from approximately to Why are Millennials a category and not a group? Because while some of them may share a sense of identity, they do not, as a whole, interact frequently with each other. Interestingly, people within an aggregate or category can become a group. During disasters, people in a neighbourhood an aggregate who did not know each other might become friendly and depend on each other at the local shelter.
After the disaster ends and the people go back to simply living near each other, the feeling of cohesiveness may last since they have all shared an experience.
They might remain a group, practising emergency readiness, coordinating supplies for the next emergency, or taking turns caring for neighbours who need extra help.
Similarly, there may be many groups within a single category. Consider teachers, for example. According to Cooley, primary groups play the most critical role in our lives. The primary group is usually fairly small and is made up of individuals who generally engage face-to-face in long-term, emotional ways. This group serves emotional needs: expressive functions rather than pragmatic ones.
The primary group is usually made up of significant others — those individuals who have the most impact on our socialization. The best example of a primary group is the family.
Secondary groups are often larger and impersonal. They may also be task-focused and time-limited. These groups serve an instrumental function rather than an expressive one, meaning that their role is more goal- or task-oriented than emotional. A classroom or office can be an example of a secondary group. Neither primary nor secondary groups are bound by strict definitions or set limits.
In fact, people can move from one group to another. A graduate seminar, for example, can start as a secondary group focused on the class at hand, but as the students work together throughout their program, they may find common interests and strong ties that transform them into a primary group.
These are individuals with whom you can discuss important personal matters or with whom you choose to spend your free time. Christakis and Fowler found that the average North American had four close, personal contacts. Half of the people listed in the core discussion group were characterized as friends, as might be expected, but the other half included family members, spouses, children, colleagues, and various professional consultants.
Engineering and construction students gather around a job site. How do your academic interests define your in- and out-groups? The roles and responsibilities of different actors should, I believe, be looked at again and corrected, so that public authorities, social media and other internet operators and internet users join efforts.
We need to act together to uphold our rights online and ensure that social media can deliver all their benefits without endangering our individual and societal well-being. Freedom of expression Freedom of expression is a basic principle of democracy; it is, however, constantly under threat.
Every time a new medium is developed, ideological, political and economic powers develop strategies and exert pressure to control the creation and distribution of content through this medium. This was the case with press, radio and television, and now also with internet and social media.
Two interconnected key issues regarding freedom of expression and social media are the definition of its boundaries and the risk of arbitrary censorship. Boundaries of freedom of expression and the problem of illicit content Individuals and organisations must be entitled to express themselves and spread information and opinions through social media.
There is a common understanding, however, that free speech is not absolute, but is in fact limited by other human rights and fundamental freedoms. Today, the most controversial issues drawing attention towards these boundaries are: instigation of criminal behaviour, such as terrorism propaganda, incitation to violence or discrimination, hate speech and information disorder.
While it is clear that society and individuals must be protected from the above, any action by public authorities or internet operators raises complex questions, must overcome technical and legal barriers and may affect civil liberties. In particular, although the unlawful nature of material shared on social media may seem obvious in most cases, it is not always straightforward to define what is illegal. As an example, even in the United States, where restrictions to free speech are allowed by the First Amendment to the Constitution only in exceptional cases, a social networking site might be prosecuted if it is proved to host messages and material which might be responsible for advocating and supporting terrorist actions or terrorist organisations.
None of us would consider this strange or problematic as such. Nevertheless, we are also well aware that the very concept of terrorism could be — and has been — used to reinforce censorship and retaliations against journalists or even individual users.
Social media: social threads or threats to human rights?
In a democratic country, it must be ensured that, as is the case in the United States, legal actions against social media platforms and internet providers can only take place in very specific scenarios where messages clearly instigate terrorist actions, recruit for criminal organisations and promote indoctrination. The boundaries of freedom of expression are supposed to be set along the same lines online and offline.
However, there are two distinct issues about the content moderation on the social media platforms that warrant highlighting: on the one hand, enforcement of the rules on illegal content is much more difficult online, due to the vast quantity of information assam tea company recruitment 2019 online, but also to the anonymity of the authors; on the other hand, terms of service agreements may limit publication of legal content on social media.
Therefore, a key question is what public interest responsibilities could be imposed on social media and how far content moderation by the social media platforms can be regulated. Power to control information disseminated through social media and arbitrary censorship The issue of arbitrary State censorship lies beyond the scope of the present report and is regularly addressed by the committee through reports on media freedom and the safety of journalists.
Nevertheless, one aspect is closely linked to the focus of this report, namely the fact that national authorities impose their decisions on internet intermediaries including social mediawhich are sometimes obliged to be complicit in violations of freedom of expression. In the case of authoritarian or even dictatorial regimes, it is difficult or sometimes even impossible to circumvent the constraints that States may impose.
In such circumstances, we can merely hope that the most powerful internet intermediaries find a way to discreetly offer resistance with a view to maintaining some spaces for freedom of expression and information even in those countries. However, to deal with genuinely illicit content and to protect individual rights and the common good, national authorities and fact-checking initiatives need to be able to count on flawless collaboration on the part of internet intermediaries, particularly social media.
As I stressed earlier, the new media context gives social media considerable power to control the information flow, which must be exercised with a responsibility commensurable with the extent of this power. The social media companies have the power to control all the information which circulates publicly through these outlets, to highlight that information or hide it, or even silence certain issues or information.
They not only set the rules regarding what can be posted and distributed, but also in cases such as Facebook they remain the owners of all the content created and uploaded to the platform by their users.
The upside of this situation is that social media can turn into allies of public authorities in order to detect, prosecute and stop illicit content. In this respect, our Assembly has already urged social media and other internet operators to act, for example in order to help fight phenomena like child pornography or hate speech. But there are also downsides. While governments themselves primarily bear responsibility in such cases, internet operators may be complicit in these abuses.
This is not the focus of our enquiry, however. The downside on which I would like to insist is that social media, by establishing and implementing their content moderation policies, can themselves become censors which unilaterally remove posts and information on their sites at their will, even though they are not illegal, which poses a threat to freedom of expression. Their action of removing content may also affect traditional media. This amounts to a censorship which lacks transparency, accountability and respect of public interest rights.
In the implementation of self-regulation established with the valuable aim of preventing dissemination of illicit content, mistakes appear which seem abnormal. These cases provoke questions about the social media regard for freedom of expression, and they raise concern about the lack of clarity of rules and regulations upon which the social media company base their decisions.
They confirm the importance of examining the role of social media as news distributors and the editorial responsibility that this entails, bearing in mind the protection of the basic human right to freedom of expression and the consequences for the rule of law.
Freedom of information The possibility for everyone to access quality information — i. Legally speaking, we do not have a right to purely truthful and factual information. On the one hand, perfect information does not exist in practice: there is always a degree of approximation, and a given perspective of the narrator.
Moreover, the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights also covers information which — sometimes on purpose — is not accurate and views that could be shocking and hurt people and that could even be counterfactual. In other terms, disseminating content which is inaccurate and of low quality does not necessarily amount per se to an illegal thus punishable behaviour.
Certain actors have however more responsibilities than others. For example, people expect public authorities to deliver reliable information and national freedom of information acts secure at least to a certain extent access to such information detained by public administration. Similarly, media have a fundamental role in our democratic society and a responsibility in upholding the general interest by delivering quality information to the public; we expect a high level of accuracy and reliability of news broadcast by the media, and even more by public service media, offline and online.
Ideally, social media too should be a channel through which people access quality information, while avoiding manipulative and deceptive content which could drive social fractures. Even though social media do not create the informative content themselves, they have turned into a mainstream news provider for a significant proportion of the European and world population.
In this sense, initiatives should be taken to guarantee that social media are a reliable channel for distributing and obtaining accurate, balanced and factual information. Freedom of information is nothing but an illusion when the quality of the information available to readers is deteriorating and, despite the ever-growing number of sources whose trustworthiness often goes uncheckedreaders — unbeknownst to them — end up locked in bubbles where they can only find and access certain sources of information.
The manipulation of opinions is a further problem here. The issue of information disorder Since the last United States presidential elections in particular, social media mostly Facebook have been accused of influencing the voters and the results through the information they allowed to be distributed.
This broad reference covers pieces of content related to news satire, news parody, fabrication, manipulation, advertising and political propaganda. One side effect of online dis-information and other types of online information disorder is a general feeling of distrust in journalism and the media sphere in general. Moreover, social media has generalised a new kind of news consumption. In the traditional offline model, news was and is presented and received in a structured package, ordered in a hierarchical structure and delivered under a wide frame allowing users to interpret and give sense to the message.
Also, readers knew that each medium delivered the news in particular frames and from different and particular perspectives. This situation changed with the popularisation of news circulating through social media. In this new environment, content flows and reaches web users in an isolated way, with no context and with a weak link to the particular medium which publishes the news. Thus, Facebook users are exposed to headlines, but lack any formal cue to interpret or detect bias or evaluate the quality of the medium which introduces the information summarised in those headlines.
Biased access to preselected sources of information Information and news reach audiences and social media users mostly through an automatised and personalised selection process, driven through carefully designed algorithms. The algorithmic selection does not guarantee a balanced and neutral purveyance of information. In fact, algorithmic filtering can be biased by human and technological features which predetermine the nature, orientation or origin of filtered news.
In this sense, one of the greatest perils of Artificial Intelligence might be the proliferation of biased algorithms. The idea behind the algorithmic filtering is a selection of news suited to the personal interests and preferences of each particular user.
In some ways, it can be considered as a necessary service, because otherwise internet users would be obliged to seek the information they need from a sea of information of no interest to them. However, is this risk-free? As a result of the algorithmic selection, for example, each particular Facebook user news feed is unique.
This is radically different to mass exposure to a same common media agenda and selection of topics, as happened with legacy media. This new trend in news consumption is leading to a lack of exposure to diverse sources of information. This factor contributes to radicalisation and growing partisanship in society. Controlling the information and manipulation The risk of manipulation of public opinion through the control of information sources is not new. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
Bernays was speaking about American society in Today, with the internet, we are speaking about those few people who, through the internet and social media, are in a position to take control of all humanity. Nowadays, it is possible to achieve on a global scale what in the thirties could be done on the national scale through the monopoly of radio and of cinema newsreels. In addition, mechanisms to prevent these abuses have been established at the national but not at the global level, namely because of jurisdictional problems.
The right to privacy The individuals must be in control of their data and must have the possibility to decide on the processing of their data, including objecting to it at any time. Sir Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the World Wide Webat the opening of the Web Summit in Lisbon, on 5 Novemberaffirmed that the web is functioning in a dystopian way, referring to threats such as online abuse, discrimination, prejudice, bias, polarisation, fake news and political manipulation among others.
This contract, which should be finalised and published in Maywill lay out core principles for using the internet ethically and transparently for all participants. The right to privacy is too often deeply affected by digital and social technologies. One of the issues in this regard is the exploitation of personal information. Digital technologies allow platforms and service providers to gather and analyse multiple information about their users. In some cases, these data are processed with legitimate purposes such as evaluating the performance of content or improving some features of the platform.
In other cases, however, the way these data are used raises concern.