Dylan Gonzalez Professor Donna Bobbitt-Zeher Sociology 101 20 October 2010 Sociology is the study of society.

It is a social science that involves the study of people, groups, and societies. This science explains the dynamics of society and how they and how they connect to our actions in everyday life. It studies the ways that social structures human attitudes, actions, and opportunities. The basic framework of The Forest and the Trees has two main points. The book discusses the main analogy of the “forest and the trees” and the analogy of the “One Thing”.This also mentions the relationship between social systems and individuals.

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There are many components that make up these topics. Also, there are different perspectives on them and on sociology itself. Simply put, the forest is society and the trees are individuals in society. The same way a population of trees makes up a forest, individuals make up society.

A bunch of trees close together make a society just like a bunch of people make society. They help shape and form each other. Individuals’ actions and behaviors are based on the social system they are a part of.At the same time social systems are made of many individuals. “As we participate in systems, our lives are shaped by socialization and paths of least resistance.

”(Johnson 19. ) At the same time we, as in individuals, are make social systems. Paths of least resistance are the easiest choices to make based on the society that an individual is in.

It doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best choice. For example, if somebody makes a racial comment and you think it’s wrong but at the same time everybody else is laughing so you just laugh because it is the path of least resistance.It is the route that will make you feel more uncomfortable than just not laughing and being judged by everybody else who did laugh. It is the path with the least amount of conflict on the individual.

“People make systems happen, consciously or not, and systems lay out paths of least resistance that shape how people participate. Both neither people nor systems exist without the other, and yet neither can be reduced to the other. ”(Johnson 19. ) This leads into “The One Thing”. The One Thing” is the concept that “we are always participating in something larger than ourselves and if we want to understand what it is that we’re participating in and how we participate in it”. This means that it’s not all about the individual or the society in itself, but individuals and societies together and how they affect and relate to one another. Culture is the complex system of meaning and behavior that defines the way of life for a given group or society. Social structures are patterns of social relationships and social institutions that compare society.

(Mills) Culture shapes social structures just like individuals do.Culture is our way of life. Culture is learned ways of acting, feeling, and thinking.

These learned ways shape social systems because they are passed from person to person. Just by living our everyday lives we pass on these actions, feelings and thoughts. When I think of culture and social structure the best example that comes to mind is parenting. When people have kids they teach them “the paths of least resistance” which is the way they should act and do things. Parents teach their kids how to eat properly, how to use the bathroom, how to speak, and how to do many other actions based off of what’s culturally correct.Those parents learned it from their parents and their parents learned it from their own parents. This is how social structure is shaped culturally; it is passed down from generation to generation and affects society for forever because culture just gets passed down. Through learning the actions of parents and everybody involved in an individual’s life, people learn socialization.

Socialization is the process whereby people learn through others, what they need to in order to live in society. (Bobbitt-Zeher. ) Individuals are socialized based on agents of socialization.Things like family, school, religion, peers and media affect how an individual is socialized and how they will think, act, and feel. There are two main types of perspectives on socialization. There is the structural functionalism perspective and conflict perspective. Structural functionalism is a perspective that looks at society as a structure with different parents like the human body.

Durkheim and other functionalists explain that how organs working properly make a healthy body, parts in society working properly (individuals) should make a healthy society.The conflict perspective is mainly based on the thoughts of Karl Marx. Other people contributed to this, but he is the main force behind the thought that society is based on class conflict and class exploitation. This view sees society as a constant power struggle between groups and classes.

They believe that society is held together by the groups in power and that the values that functionalists think are the glue to society does not have anything to do with how society stays together.What I learned for this is that society is a huge cycle that affects everybody. Social systems are based on culture and social structure. Individuals shape social systems through socialization forming paths of least resistance along with norms and roles. They also shape social systems through normal everyday actions. Finally, we are a part of “The One Big Thing”, which means we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. That one thing is society, everything we do, think, or say affects society in some way.



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