Sociology and Human Behavior Essay

Sociology and Human Behavior Essay

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Sociology has come a long way since it first began, with new discoveries and a better understanding of how society functions as a whole. Scientists are able to see how the behaviours of each individual helps us to further our knowledge about its origins and development. However, there are still a number of aspects of sociology that are up for debate. One of these topics is the primacy of structure and agency in influencing in human behaviour. Structure is defined as the designed arrangements which impacts or limits the decisions and opportunities available. Agency is referred as the capability of individuals to act by themselves and make their own choices free of influence (Duffy and Mandell, 2011: 357). The debate between structure and agency can be looked at as an issue of socialization against self-rule in determining if people work as a free agent or if they work in a manner that is managed by social structure.
Kosut and Moore (2010) argue that the body “is the ultimate location of the division in sociology between structure and agency” (Kosut and Moore, 2010: 2). They use numerous theories and the work of other sociologists to provide evidence for their argument for the idea of the body and how it can be used in everyday society. The body can be thought as the location of the division between the two aspects because although people have the right to do as they please with their own bodies like getting a tattoo or expressing themselves through fashion, individuals still tend to follow the social norm as to not be excluded or become an outcast. So does the body fall into structure or agency?
Arthur Frank described the body as a mode of communication, because the body itself is not voiceless, but it is speechless, and what h...


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...n structure and agency is the aging body. Society used to respect and worship their elder, thinking it was a natural and normal process, but in today’s society, people wish to hide the aging process and anything that goes along with it, considering it to be an ailment (Calasanti, 2005: 1). Individuals are supposed to show control over their bodies and that showing signs of getting of means that you are unfit, unhealthy, and not following social structures (Calasanti, 2005: 2). Losing such control is deemed unacceptable, and thus you become considered not normal. Numerous companies have developed many different ways, i.e. Anti-aging creams, to prevent the signs of aging, so one may be more socially acceptable when they come about old age, but this goes against agency, as people should be able to grow old in peace and not have to worry about what society thinks.

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