Friday, October 30, 2009

there ain't no escaping it

I would argue that any human being that has been subjected to a socialization process can never move beyond social control. This is an unavoidable outcome of living in groups and the fundamental requirement of having to learn things in order to survive. Learning is the same as social control...both are about behavior change in response to group pressures/forces/dynamics. Couple those dynamics with the educational system we have today and IMO, it is evident that there is no way to move beyond social control -- this is why I use the example of being nude in the summer. Even if someone did this, I would hazard a guess that s/he would have some kind of physiological response to being nude in public. I think we would characterize that physiological response as "shame" or "embarrassment" -- both are evidence of having been raised among other people; both are internalized mechanisms of social control.

I am in favor of students learning through inquiry and discovery -- both of these processes and their respective outcomes are not asocial; they both require some kind of context. As soon as we include a context for them to occur, we are back to living in groups, being consistently and unavoidably subject to social control. Don't forget that everyone engages in social control...students, professors, teachers, etc.

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ADP said...

I wouldn't say we "can't" move beyond social control. The point of sociology for many sociologists is to help us achieve that Archimedean point that gives us an external perspective on society. Understanding how social forces influence our behaviors helps us to achieve some degree of freedom- as well as to help us to understand how we each help to maintain the system that "controls" us.

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