OLC Blog

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reading 6: Whose Side Are We On? - Howard S. Becker

I agree with the author's statement that sociologists must decide which side they are on when researching any problem or issue. News journalists should be neutral and unemotional because they are reporting facts and events, but sociologists need to take a side and use the emotion of the people they are studying in order to help the reader understand what the sociologist is attempting to portray.

The author used excellent examples to help the reader understand his point of view. The examples of superordinates (teachers or police) vs subordinates (students or addicts) helped me understand how sociologists' writings can be viewed as biased when sociologists take the side of the subordinate. Even though not many people think that addicts should make rules for policemen, their view should be heard because they could be telling the truth. It is up to the reader to make their own decision on what is true and not true to them.

Sociology is inevitably a moral discipline because sociology is the study of human behavior and humans have morals. Some humans believe they are more moral or superordinate than others. Morals or values are the first things we teach our children. Therefore, how could the study of human behavior not be a moral discipline? Morals are a large part of who a person is and you could not study humans without considering their morals.


Blogger jarhead said...

Renee - Your observations pertaining to the obligation of sociological thinkers is accurate. I'll use the example of the Jail. If people did not listen to those concerned with the social conditions in the penal instutuion they would still be run like dungons. Not every complaint or concern was valid, but many were and it led to the establishment of "minimum standards" that all NYS Jails operate under.

1:25 PM  
Blogger ccam said...

I thought you had an interesting idea about using the sociologists emotions to help portray the material. I also never thought about hearing the convict's views in order to determine the truth of a situation.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Shawnna said...


I have to disagree with you on this one. I see Sociology as the study of society, not human behavior. I think sociology concentrates more with the ways in which the evironment, social interactions and the different groups of society impact each other. I don't think it focuses on individual behaviors. With that said, I think that the Sociologist should try and remain as neutral as possible on issues that do not require a side to be taken. I do feel that there are some instances where their work would only be substantiated by taking a side, but for the most part, I feel neutrality is best.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Your Pampered Chef Consultant said...

What would society be without the people in them? I don't think you can study society without considering the people who interact within the society. (Is this a chicken and egg type of problem?)....I wonder.

10:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home