Essay on Sociology

Essay on Sociology

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Much research on helping behaviour can be criticised as being
ethnocentric, conducted in the USA alone. Thus, the studies are rather
limited in terms of the lack of variety in the people studied. Latane
and Darley were the first to systematically investigate the
circumstances under which bystander's are/are not likely to intervene
to help others, and promote pro-social behaviour. However, we must be
cautious not to generalise the findings to other cultures. We cannot
assume that the same circumstances apply equally to any human
population. The tendency to make this assumption is something we need
to be very aware of when drawing broad conclusions regarding
pro-social behaviour from a limited sample. This implication
highlights the need for cross-cultural research into pro-social
behaviour.

Each cultural group has social norms. Cultures also share values,
which specify what kinds of pro-social behaviour are considered
desirable. We all need to go through the processes of socialisation to
acquire the norms and values relevant to our culture. If we behave
differently from the prescribed cultural norms, there are likely to be
negative consequences, such as disapproval of others.

Norms and values vary considerably between cultures and subcultures
because there is such cross-cultural variation in social structures.
We need to remember, then, that what may be true of the social
behaviour of Americans does not necessarily apply to people living in
the Kalahari Desert or indigenous people of New Zealand.

Hsu (1971) proposed that cultures could be divided into two broad
groupings, individualist and collectivist. In individualistic
c...


... middle of paper ...


...ry studies, particularly
those involving American participants, tend to emphasise that people
will avoid the need to request help as far as possible. In contrast,
field studies, particularly those involving participants from Asian
cultures, emphasise that people will sacrifice time and effort in
order to attend to those that deserve help (Wills, 1992). However,
these conflicting results may not simply be the product of cultural
differences alone. Moreover, lab-based studies tend to lack the social
context of seeking help. Faced with a limited time period with
anonymous fellow participants, there would seem little point in
attempting to develop a social relationship in such an artificial
context. In the real world, however, people actively seek out the help
of others to extend their social relationships (Moghaddam 1998)

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