Reaction to “The Promise” and New York

As we continue to discuss different sociological concepts associated with New York, it is easier to connect past readings to dicussions in class. We began the course by reading a chapter from, The Sociological Imagination, titled “The Promise”. This chapter discussed social changes and how they affect the life of individuals. Macro social changes, such as industrialization, rate of investements, war, etc., result in new norms which are hard for people to follow up on. This results in conflicts, and anomie, which is confusion of normalessness. The chapter concluded that individuals have to understand the larger historical scene to get a meaning of the smaller picture, because people are connected to history. Therefore, in order to successfully live during macro social changes, it is crucial to understand the connection between our personal troubles and public issues. This chapter can be connected to many changes that have gone on in society throughout the past couple of years. Taking the subway almost every day, and living in such an industrial and populated city, there are all sorts of forms of technology all around me. The world got very technology savvy over the past couple of years, probably around the time that I came into highschool. If individuals do not understand that this is a public change, and that it will affect their everyday lives, they will run into conflicts where they will not be able to assimilate with the norms. Although people do not have to use technology with their every move, they must understand that many more companies and stores that were once operated manually, for example voting, are now operated using technology. Lack of the knowledge of how to use some common forms of technology can conflict the way someone lives their life. Technology is an example of a structural force, which the chapter alludes to, stating that humans who ignore the structural forces of society will experience anomie. This chapter can be extended to many social changes taking place in the world today, such as the presidential election, the war associated with Israel, etc.                                     -Vicky Sideras


One response to “Reaction to “The Promise” and New York

  1. Great work applying some core concepts of sociology to everyday urban life, specifically the role of *technology*. It’s understandable that technology interests you. As you allude to, the pace of technological change has accelerated greatly over the course of your lifetime, and the use and influence of *information* and *social media* technology has grown exponentially. I think it’s the latter that interest you, not so much technology in general. And remember: technology is just a means of getting things done; there was time when the *wheel* was a new technology.

    You note the critical difference between conceiving of social changes or conditions as *public issues* and *personal troubles*. The negative consequences of mistaking changes or circumstances over which you have no control as “personal” troubles is that you tend to blame yourself and fail to reach out to others to look for collective, public solutions.

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