Modern Sociological Issues: Topics and Prompts for Writing

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Modern science is humanistic, meaning that it focuses on people and their activity. This obviously means that with the change in society, scientific methods, approaches, branches and data adjust as well. As far as sociology is concerned, it is supposed to reflect the most actual issues within a society to react to them and find the best suitable solutions. An academic essay is a part of a scientific research. Thus, if you need to write an essay on Sociology, you need to know the main issues taking place around, locally or globally, and be aware of their scientific background. Here we are going to present and explain a few theories suggested by the modern sociologists.

McDonaldization

This theory was introduced in 1993 by George Ritzer. Even though the term sounds like a good joke, it deals with serious processes that take place in the modern world since the end of XX century. McDonaldization theory took his name from the fast-food restaurant, expressing the point, that the USA and the whole world is now existing according to the rules of fast-food places. The main concepts of the modern world that prove the theory are:

  • Effectivity (reaching the desired using the fastest and the most effective technique);
  • countability and evaluation (there is a clear and standard system of evaluation of the quality, quantity and value of products and services);
  • predictability (standardization of form, sense and quality of the products and services. Predictability helps to avoid any positive or negative unexpected outcomes);
  • control (ability to carry out a multi-sided control, starting from the labor control of workers up to control of the process of production, and control of the consumer behavior);
  • irrationalization of rational (due to the maximum rationalization, there appear processes of dehumanization and homogenization).

McDonaldization is closely connected with rationalization, so the classic way of thinking is being replaced by rational one. To cut a long story short, McDonaldization is a way of thinking how to achieve a certain aim maximally fast and effective.

Modern McDonaldization is being changed by Starbucksization: it appears as a new, updated process. This term refers to Sociology and Economics. Starbucks appears as an example of the economic success. There appear clones of it; there can be calculated an ‘index of a high latte’ showing the consuming ability of population.

Theory of a Social Conflict

A conflict as a phenomenon seems to be as old as the humankind. With the changes of society, the background for conflicts changes as well, even though some basic principles remain the same.

Darendorf defines conflict as a relationship between the social elements, which is based on objective and subjective contradictions. Conflicts are the result of the heterogeneous society. The relationships of domination and subordination influence the formation of a conflict and the source of a conflict is fighting for the power and authority. Conflict may appear between the elements having the same social status (states, nations, political parties) and between those having different ones (employers and employees). The main features of a conflict are intensity (the level of energy the participants put in it) and the level of physical strength involved (evaluated by the means of conflict resolution: from negotiations and compromises to war). However, conflict cannot be resolved, but can be softened.

Kozer focuses on the positive meaning of conflicts. The positive consequences of a conflict depend on the norms of social order within a social system. The stricter is the system in which a conflict takes place, the more it shows its destructive power. Kozer is convinced that the aim of a conflict is ruination of the out-of-date norms which sabotage the progress of a social system, introducing the new, modern and progressive principles of functioning. A constructive result can be gained only if the conflict is presented in its soft form. If you decide to write about conflicts, use the everyday life examples to make it easier to understand the point.

Anomy

Another actual theory introduction of which dates back to XX century is the theory of anomy by R. Merton. The word ‘anomy’ can be translated from ancient Greek as ‘unruled’ and ‘illegal’. Anomia is the state of society, when most of its members disregard or refuse the norms of moral even though being aware of them. Merton considers anomy a result of the conflict of aims and legal ways of reaching them. In a capitalistic society, such aims are material success and wealth. If legal ways do not help to reach the mentioned kind of success, people get involved in the legal affairs. Merton defines 5 types of the deviant behavior as a result of the conflict of social norms:

  • conformism (agreement with the aims of society and the suggested methods to achieve them);
  • innovation (agreement with the aims suggested by society, but refusing of the legal means of reaching them);
  • ritualism (refusing the aims set by the society, but applying the methods which are approved by it);
  • retreatism (escapism, refusing both: aims and methods suggested by society. It can be observed in the example of marginal figures: homeless, alcohol addicts, etc.)
  • rebellion (it is similar to retreatism, but besides refusing the former goals and methods, it sets the new ones, forming a new ideology, which can be revolutionary).

As a Conclusion

As you can see, most of the modern and actual sociological issues have a scientific background, causes, consequences and solutions. While writing on Sociology, it is necessary not only to state the issue, but analyze it based on the research that is already done and offering your own classifications, solutions or determining new features of it that correspond to your particular time.

  • Do not forget about relevant academic literature. Use it, study it, cite it.
  • Make is clear for you and then for your reader/listener. You will be able to explain a point only if you have a perfect understanding of what you talk about.
  • Link it to life. Convince that the theory/issue is actual nowadays, using statistics and evidence.
  • All those points with an addition of your opinion on the issue is a recipe of a perfect essay on Sociology.

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