Emotions organise our activities, and how Postmodernism and Urbanisation have changed the social landscape   no comments

Posted at 8:29 pm in Psychology,Sociology

As part of my review I have been reading the book: “psychology”, 3rd ed. G. N. Martin et al, and this week concentrated one of the main branches of psychology: social psychology.

Some of key areas of social psychology fall within 4 issues:

leadership: where someone tries to influence the whole group.

conformity: several group members encourage others to adopt a particular attitude.

obedience: when authority figure tries to make someone comply with  their demands.

prejudice: where attitudes of one group influence behaviour towards another group.

As well as these four issues there was another large theory that has been well established in branch of social psychology:

Social facilitation: process of behaviour change as a result of being in presence of others

Another theory was that emotions organise our activities. They tell us what we want to do or do not want, and importantly emotions can function as motives. e.g. a distressed child will seek comfort and security or cry for help, and mostly people seek to be close to those they love. Extrapolating from this textbook example, I believe emotions can act as motives for why we seek to join or be part of groups, perhaps for same reasons, as well as many more than cited in the example. There are two types of emotions: primary motives to satisfy basic needs and secondary motives such as friendship, power, and fame are acquired or learned needs. At this stage I am outlining this as one possible hypothesis: that emotions drive or make up part of our motives for joining and participating in groups.

Additional ideas from psychology that may be relevant to outlining factors as to why we join and participate in activities are the two contrasting theories to illustrate motivation: homeostatic drive and goal theory.

Homeostatic drive theory: an action is driven by a sense of imbalance and continues until the balance is restored.

Goal theory: key to some one’s motivation is what they are consciously trying to do: their goal.

As part of  my review of sociology literature I looked at “introductory sociology”, 4th ed. tony bilton et al.

Of interest was the line “the Internet has enhanced the potential for shared experiences, and increased the immediacy with which a wide variety of information can be disseminated”.  If this is true then perhaps further reading of other material may show that shared experiences are cohesive factor for joining and staying in a group, and perhaps online societies facilitate this better than offline groups.

One key theme was Urbanisation and how it affected the social and physical environment. A shift from a close-knit community , personal and stable relationships between friends and neighbours, and based on clear understanding of social position to associations based on transition, instrumental relationships that were specific to a particular setting and purpose and did not involve whole person. I understood this to mean that there was a change in the relationships and structure of groups, from close knit,  personal, stable groups with clear hierarchies, to groups which were disjointed,  impersonal, transitional and with no clear heirachy.

Another key theme relevant to social groups was: Living in Post modernity; that Since 1970s’ new social trends have prompted some commentators to suggest a great Transformation is underway, heralding an area of post modernity. What does this mean? At its most extreme, individuals are no longer ‘unified subjects’ they no longer possess fixed, stable and coherent identities, but an increasingly composed of fragmented, multiple and often contradictory identities. This forces us to (re) evaluate social development and our place in them.

This theme re-enforces what I found last week, that the fragmented postmodern young generation of both Eastern and Western Societies were each searching for a new collective self, perhaps reason why there is such a growing ad diverse range of groups online, to satisfy this market of indiviuals looking for collective self.

Actions for next week:

Read an introductory textbook on social psychology, this branch of psychology appears most relevant to my review.

Look at individual actors, roles and personalities often found within groups.

Document any sociological factors that influence groups such as languages and culture.

Written by cm7e09 on February 26th, 2010

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