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The Skeptic Reading in Sociology presents the sociological principles that aid in understanding of the society. These principles also bring clear understanding of human nature in different perspectives. This essay studies people’s behavior under different circumstances and in particular groups. In addition, the paper takes into consideration people’s perception of rules and the people who are in charge of making them.
While in a group, people always display different behaviors. The reason is that it is in the nature of human beings to seek acceptance. They always want to belong to the community and be recognized as worthy members of an organization or certain group. There are various causes as to why people crave to be in groups. These reasons explain people’s patterns of behavior. The need for companionship would always make an individual adopt a more accommodative approach to tolerate others. Consequently, a person can be forced to adopt such mode of behavior that contradicts his/her normal concepts when trying to gain acceptance of others. Likewise, the longing for affiliation, recognition, and social security also determines one’s behavior. The social status that one is accorded within the group set-up would make an individual behave in a particular manner in order to satisfy other people’s expectations. The wish to maintain an appropriate image would also determine one’s behavior. Moreover, every group has its rules and regulations that individuals must follow or comply with. Furthermore, rear of criticism and the need for love has caused many people to always want to meet people’s expectations even when doing wrong things. Such desire would always pressure one to behave differently in order to earn the respect and maintain their status. Nevertheless the demands of the society may contradict one’s beliefs, a person would still act in accordance with given manner in order to meet the demands or the expectations of different groups.
There is need for social order in the society. People have different beliefs and interests some of which may be conflicting. These variances of peoples’ preference often lead to conflicts causing disharmony in the society. People want tolerance, therefore, to achieve this the society has to be involved in making rules that govern them. The rules come as social norms which control the behavior of a group of people. Since the society is involved in the construction of these rules, they are bound to observe them because they understand the reason for which the regulations were made. Furthermore, the same people who take heed of these rules are the players who are involved in re-enforcing the same rules. Similarly, according to our societal values, members are always encouraged to comply with the rules since this is an individuals’ responsibility to observe the laws for his or her well-being. Social rules are also for the good of the society and the one who breaks them is bound to suffer. Therefore, people feel that they have an obligation to be custodians of these rules since they are directly involved in their formation.
From the perspective of the social constructionist’s perspective, some individuals in the society determine and classify certain forms of behavior as acceptable, while the others as criminal. After due consideration, these modes were promulgated as offensive and the perpetrators of the insulting acts are consequently subjected to punishment. The punishments for the offenses are as well determined by the society. Crimes are regarded and treated with different intensity by different communities. There are some acts which are considered to be morally wrong by one society, but to the other they are not considered as criminal offenses. For instance, marrying one’s relatives is considered to be wrong and may be a taboo by some communities, but on the other hand it is acceptable to other people. What is generally considered to be wrong is just a general reflection of the norms and values of the society. For example, such acts as homosexuality and same sex marriage weren’t a common occurrence in the past. At that time they were considered to be immoral and punishable by different societies, but today, it is an acceptable fact and homosexuals are protected by the law in most of our nations. It is thus very clear that laws are social constructions and even the exerted level of punishment is determined by the society. For instance, it is not until the death rates and road accidents became high that speeding was criminalized. The society has a tendency of incriminating things that are seen as hazardous to the society. The society determines its rules that govern its people. It is by the need of social harmony that the society aligns itself with the behavior of individual to achieve harmonious relationships.
When it comes to the process of law formation, there are people whose opinions are especially taken into consideration than the others’. The list of such people includes those who are highly esteemed by the society. According to Tovey & Share (2003), these are religious leaders, opinion leaders, elders, and political leaders.
Religious leaders represent the moral aspect of human existence. Their opinion must always be taken into account because their influence is enormous in the society. Their office is also valued and highly respected by people in the society. They are trusted by the society and what they accept is likely to be accepted by the society. If they reject a proposal or a particular rule, such a rule will often meet opposition and may end up not being adopted.
Opinion leaders are considered to be wise and have diverse knowledge of the society. These people are often contacted so as to get clear information of what is beneficial to the targeted society.
Elders are people who are revered in the society and their opinion is highly respected. They provide historical view of the society and they also act as the custodians of the societal norms. Also, what they endorse is likely to be accepted by the society.
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Political leaders have a cosmic influence among the people and their influence can make them accept or reject the rules that have been set. The reason is that they became a significant group whose reflections cannot be ignored before decisions and other rules are formulated.
It is a foregone conclusion that laws have to be observed by everybody in its sphere of influence. These rules have punishments and/or rewards that come by them. For example, if one was found guilty of murder, the punishment would be killing the offender, as it is prescribed by most societies. On the contrary, observing the rules would portray one as a good person and he/she would be respected and honored by the society. The society may also suffer if it does not follow the rules that are followed and recognized by the international communities. Rules have conditions that must be fulfilled by those who belong to a community. Thus, being a custodian of the societal norms, every member of the society must appreciate laws.