Self and Society
Date of Submission:
Self and Society
Self and society in anthropology is the study of one’s individuality and personality. However, it incorporates the influence of society on these aspects of an individual. This paper discusses different social behaviors. It also discusses the different ways the society has helped in influencing the behavior of those in question. The two reading used in the completion of this paper provide the reader with an understanding of the key issues involved in social conformity. The paper delves into the basics of socialization, social norms, and rites of passage. It also discusses in detail the stages of socialization involved in the readings. The paper also discusses the way the readings contribute to the debate on structure versus agency. The report helps the reader understand how the readings used differ from how psychology differs in the analysis of identity in comparison to anthropology. The final example used helps one understand the basics of self and society.
Socialization refers to the act of an individual communally interacting with other people in a given society. However, the main aim of socializing is to ensure that one can positively enjoy the company. Socialization provides an individual with the opportunity to learn new things while teaching other new things. It is also an opportunity for an individual to set standards and understand the standards set by others. The benefit of socializing is that it provides one with the ability to determine their social status. Socialization also provides one with the ability to create connections that may come as a benefit in the future. Social norms are a major element of socialization. The reason behind this is that social norms provide one with the basic habits expected by the society. In the process of socialization, one may find themselves conforming to certain habits that are accepted by the society. Social norms may affect one’s level of performance with regards to their dressing, electronics, and general behavior. For instance, the modern society has a social norm that requires one to be on social media. Conforming to this norm allows one to conform and socialize much more easily. Rites of the passage refer to the different stages in life that one is expected to go through by the society. Such stages involve going through the education system and graduating at each level. Depending on one’s social circles, the rites of passage may be different. Therefore, it is important for one to identify the rites of passage if they are to conform to the society roles that they take up.
There are different stages of socialization that are referred to in the two readings. The first reading refers to the two main stages of socialization in the context of their topic, ‘Anorexia, Bulimia, and Developing Deviant Identity’. The two main stages of anorexics and Bulimias are the primary deviance and secondary deviance (McLorg $ Taub 398). However, the two stages are initially started at a pre-anorexic or pre-bulimia stage where the individuals in question are model individuals. They are normally great performers. They study hard knowing that they will perform well in their studies. Once in awhile, these individual are also found to conform to several societal stages of life. Such include going through the different educational levels in their lives. These provide the individuals in questions with a guide through life. However, obsession with particular characteristics may result in anorexia and/or bulimia. The second reading has two main stages that are involved in the process of learning how to smoke marijuana. The first step involved is that the novice does not get high from smoking marijuana (Becker 236). The smoker does not get high because they do not know how to breathe in the smoke. The other steps include where the smoker is learning how to smoke marijuana. However, since they do not know how it feels to be high, they will not know they are high. The final step is for the individual to continue using marijuana with the aim of enjoying the effects of getting high.
Both reading s have contributed in different ways to the debate on structure versus agency. This debate argues that an individual’s decision-making capabilities are based either on a structure on agency. Decisions that are made based on structure refer to decisions that can only be made within a recognized system. The agency, on the other hand, depends on an individual’s ability to make an individual decision. Agency will mostly depend on an individual’s ability to maintain their individual will power. In the first reading, the paper brings to the table the different ways in which structure can affect an individual’s eating habits. The social structures are such that individuals are required to have a certain body structure. For instance, young women are only regarded as beautiful if they are slim while men are considered handsome if they have a buff body. Most of the young women who want to fit within this structure will go to any lengths to ensure that their bodies remain as it has been stated. This is the breeding ground for anorexia and bulimia. On the other hand, the agency is brought about by the fact that will power is essential for anorexia and bulimia to succeed. In this case, one needs to have the will power to limit the amount of food they consume. This ensures that they continue to maintain the desired body weight. For bulimia, it is also important for an individual to have the will to induce vomiting. This will ensure that they do not have those extra calories in their system. While the two conditions are detrimental to one’s health, it is clear and easy to understand the ways in which the readings have contributed to the debate on structure Vs. Agency.
The two readings have also been found to differ from the psychological analysis of identity. The main method of analysis of identity that is used in the readings is the anthropological method. However, the psychological analysis is also essential in determining whether the ideologies shared within the readings are accurate or not. The first reading focuses on anorexia, bulimia, and deviance. However, the perspective used in this reading does not differentiate between self and identity. The readings provide a limitation to the information shared with regards to oneself and identity. This limitation then provides a stark contrast to the need of a differentiation that is discussed in the psychological analysis. The reading does not have any reference to abstract identity. This would have required certain sections of the reading to have markers that would help one specify the identity of the individuals. However, the reading uses questionnaires that help the reader to determine and deduce this information. This is a general way of collecting information about the identity of an individual. The second reading also differs from the psychological analysis of identity. The reading also does not provide markers for an abstract identity. This limits the scope with which an individual can determine the character of an individual who is learning how to smoke marijuana. The generalization of the steps taken in learning marijuana does not take into consideration hat certain individuals may not conform to the general ideas of how marijuana should be smoked.
Socialization and deviant behavior can be identified in different areas of life. One good example is the need to binge drinking while on a night out with friends. Most people know that excessive alcohol consumption is bad for one’s health. However, people will ignore this fact in the face of a judging society. One may refuse to drink much on their first occasion. However, as one continues interacting with the individual in question, their drinking habits will conform to those in the social circle. This in turn results in an individual becoming a habitual binge drinker. The socialization of an individual into the habit of binge drinking is one that takes a long period. However, once this is completed, the habit is difficult to leave behind. The identity of the individual is thus formed to be that of an alcohol dependent individual.
The two readings have provided the reader with an understanding of the key steps involved in the development of identity. These characteristics of an individual are associated with an individual’s habitual patterns. However, the readings have shown that it is essential for the society to play a role in the development of an individual’s behavior. When the society is molding an individual’s behavior correctly, then the individual is bound to become heir best. However, when the opposite is true, there lies a possibility that one may end up becoming a social misfit. The use of Anthropology and Psychology in understanding the theorems used in addressing the issues in question have determined that it is difficult to determine one’s identity outside of social norms. However, once an identity is formed, it is difficult to change it.