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Posted on July 31st, 2012, by

A Feral child is a term used to define human children who grow up in isolation from contacts with other human beings.  These children do not experience human care, do not adapt social behavior and human language. The movie called The Secret of the Wild Child tells one of such stories. The movie is a documentary which tells a story of Genie, who spend 13 years in almost complete isolation. When Genie is rescued she can not communicate and is underdeveloped. After Genie has been rescued a group of doctors, researches and physiatrists try to teach her normal human skills. Genie’s story is an important story because it gives additional information about the field of child development. Despite the enthusiasms of different specialists after Genie is rescued, their attempts to give her normal skills of developed human personality fail. Owing to social isolation during 13 years her mental and psychological development has not come through necessary stages and this could not be corrected later.

In addition to important contribution to the child development theory Genie’s case also shed light to the theory of culture from sociological perspective. When Genie was released from her isolation she did not possesses human characteristics. When Genie was rescued she could not walk well, she could not speak and did not understand human speech. She was silent most of the time by constantly spat, clawed and sniffed. Genie did not achieve any social norms and regulations applied in modern society. This case makes it evident that without upbringing and socialization cultural norms are not developed in human beings.

Go Tigers!

Go Tigers is a documentary chronicle of football season of Tigers of Massillon, the Ohio football team.  The movie very vividly illustrates that fandom is an important element of culture in Ohio. The team Tigers of Massillon is an object of pride in the city and people who want to associate themselves with the culture of the city necessarily join group of fans of this football team. Fandom is also expressed in different objects of cultures. Fandom affects expressive, material and non-material culture of the city. Team boosters visit newborn children in order to give them footballs in order to make them be willing to grow good football players. This is an example of expressive culture.

Selling Tiger coffins is a combination of expressive and material culture. Non-material culture is also affected by Tigers football team. The failure or victory of the football team affects the mood of the people, the level of education and even the tax level. Objects of material culture connected with the team are easier to identify. T-shirts and other closing with labels of the team reflect big impact of fandom on the material culture of the city.  Fandom as described in the movie has mostly positive impact on people of the city. People are greatly excited by sport and, since this affection makes them interested in sport and helps them to feel as a member of one community it can be treated like a positive phenomenon. Material, non-material and expressive objects of culture prove great importance of fandom for Massillon people.

News and Sociological Approaches

Durkheim was concerned with the factors which help the society to exist as one unity. He studies tools which helped to maintain the solidarity of the society. He believed that social institutions and social relationships made the basis of any society. Durkheim believed that social rituals helped to maintain social solidarity. Adherents of this theory would be greatly concerned with modern TV News. In modern news little attention is paid to factors which integrate the society. Durkheim would greet any kind of news which describes national holidays or any kind of activities which all citizens of the country perform together. According to Durkheim these activities serve as social rituals and social rituals are used in order to maintain solidarity of the society. Our modern news are mainly aimed to underline the difference between different nations, different social layers, different subcultures. Even if this news does not say bad things about different nations, races and subcultures, it still underlines great difference between them.

Marxism is centered on social inequality. According to this social theory, ruling class uses forces and suppression in order to gain power and to exploit working class. Unequal distribution of resources is one of the main concerns of conflict social theory. It is evident that while presenting news they would center on social inequality and not fair distribution of resources. This news would probably show good position of rich people who run the country. News would show and describe their luxurious mansions, their servants and expansive entertainments.  In order to underline the difference the news would also show poor life of ordinary people. All these contrasts will be used in order to underline that resources are not distributed fairly.

Symbolic interactionism regards society as a sum of interaction between people.  This theory states that human behavior is acquired through interaction with other people and gives more meaning to the way people interpret events or objects. It is evident that while making news adherents of this approach would center on social interaction as their main point. Symbolic interactionism believes that society and people are interdependent and TV new will most probably reflect this. This news would depict people in power negotiating on important issues. News would underline that people in power consult with each other and with ordinary people while taking important state decisions.

SI Research Method

Since the meaning of things is an object of primary importance of symbolic interactionism I would analyze television news from the perspective of their meaning if I were to use SI for their analysis. Since the meaning in SI derives from interaction I would pay great attention to interaction of people and the way it is described. Since things get their meanings in SI through personal interpretation I would also interpret news from the meaning people get from this news. It is evident that in this kind of news Newsmakers would try to provoke certain reaction in people who watch these news. It is necessary to keep in mind the main purpose of newsmakers and know what kind of meaning they put in their news and what kind of reaction they expect from their audience. Ethical concerns derive from this very property of SI. SI uses a lot of symbols, so this use can help to manipulate people and help to provoke necessary reactions from them. In addition, meaning put in the news by their authors can get different interoperations for different people and this is another ethical concern which arises while using this approach.

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