Each of our lives is a small but essential part of society. What we do and who we are goes down in history, written or not. We are individuals, part of groups which together with other groups form institutions. These institutions make up society as well as define it. Society is a huge social structure that we all make up and are a part of. That being said, in this paper three different types of viewpoints will be discussed, self in society, society in self, and self versus society.
Self in society will define my place in the social structure as well as trace back my family roots. For society in self, the influence that my family had on me in my early years will discussed along with its changes. Finally for self versus society, the question of how I came to be according to my experiences will be answered. These are three of the many viewpoints that tie up to society.
First off, as mentioned earlier, society is a structure that is composed and divided into different parts. According to the article “Moving up from the working class”, the social structure is divided into three classes (Morris and Grimes). These classes are labeled the upper class (rich), the middle class (not so rich), and the working class (poor). Your salary defines your place in this structure. That being said, most individuals say that they consider themselves middle class. No one wants to admit to their salary, for all we know they may be part of the upper class or even the lower class. Now, self in society defines oneself in the structure that we know as society. In other words, self in society is where you are “placed” in the class structure. This system may seem to work but for others it is unfair. Why? Well, my family is a good example on the flaws of this class system. The historical force that brought my family here was migration. My family was born in Mexico and migrated here back in the early 1990’s.
Once here, like all the other immigrants, a job was a priority in order to survive. My mother and uncles started off in dead end jobs in the fields. I am not going to go into detail so I won’t stray from the point. Having dead end jobs automatically classified us under the working class. We all had the “American idea” that if we worked hard we would eventually move up this class system. However, as mentioned in the article, “The U.S. Upper class”, the act of moving up the class structure is nearly impossible because the upper class stays on top, forcing the lower class to stay in the bottom. Now, in society in self the influence that my family had on me was one that would help me “climb” this structure. As a boy, my parents made sure school was my first and only priority. They knew that education laid the path to the next level of the class system.
My parents showed me to pay close attention in school and accept the “student role” like in the article, “Kinder garden as Academic Boot camp” by Gracey. The cultural values that were emphasized on me as a child were the same that were emphasized on my parents as children. For example, the way we celebrate as a whole family, the types of food we make, and of course the importance of education. They taught me to be patient and know how make decisions wisely, after all whatever decision I took would affect the whole family in a way. That being said, I acted not as a single individual but as a group. In many ways this type of thinking helped me be more responsible and set the example for others. When it came to making a decision, I wasn’t alone; everybody’s advice helped me, Where I am now and what I do all came to be with the encouragement of my family.
When making decisions academically, all the advice my parents gave me was considered. Most of the experiences that brought me here today were all in hopes of “climbing” the social class system. This was not an easy task, I struggled as a boy to see the importance of school. According to Levi, “Cognitively, the novice must reframe his experience in order to enter his profession” (Levi, pg 288). In other words, since I was new to this whole class system, I first had to figure out constraints before proceeding on the task lay before me. The large historical processes that my both my family and I saw in this country brought us together and helped us move as a unit. There are a lot of social conflicts that I expect to face in social institutions in the future. For example, my ethnic background seems to be looked down upon by many institutions today.
One would think that everyone will overlook ethnicity but the fact is, it still exists today in the land of the free. However, every conflict has a solution and like my parents taught me, all it takes is a little patience and wise decision making. To close, society plays a big role in everyone’s life like it or not. Our surroundings affect our personality and our goals. Society affects both you and me in many different ways through different methods such as the media, family influence, or even friends. We might not notice this difference because everyone in the United States is being affected by it. However, traveling to a different country will bring to the surface these values that are carried in us.