Analysis Of Sociological Theories In David J. Harding's Living The Drama

1421 words - 6 pages

Living the Drama by David J. Harding is a text which draws on many sociological theories that are presently relevant to the lives of many individuals. Particularly this compilation of personal accounts and theoretical connections textbook focuses on the role of neighborhood and community’s effect on the lives of present day boys. The book provides real life examples are given to demonstrate two key topics being cultural heterogeneity and collective efficacy. In neighborhoods collective efficacy is relevant regardless of the racial or socioeconomic make up of the area, as it comprises the neighborhoods trust and cohesion with shared expectations of control, which in response determines the ...view middle of the document...

The misconception that all individuals in various culturals develop and evolve similarly is inaccurate and “the construction of myths of homogeneous cultural continua is therefore the result of a misconception of how cultures evolve and how they interact, ignoring the fact that cultures are in utter need of contact-making in cultural interfaces so they will have a prospect of continuous development” (Ipsen 8, 2005).
David J. Harding’s Living the Drama provides real life examples to demonstrate conflicting cultural models. For example Reed, age 15, confuses how his sports an other commitments may effect his future aspirations: “I’m going to try and keep myself situated so that when its time for me to graduate from high school, I get extra points from basketball, football or add-ons to me passing… It just counts because you was on a football team and it gives you extra points…that’s why I got in, and because I love football, because I don’t get straight A’s, so I’m looking for those extra points to help me graduate” (Harding 204, 2010). Reed’s misinterpretation of the paths and means to reach the point of attending college is incorrect as a result of conflicting cultural models which result in confusion for adolescents like himself. “A culturally heterogenous neighborhood is one in which both mainstream and alternative cultural models are socially supported, so it is necessary to account for the presence of both types of models” (Harding 150, 2010). Another example involves the heterogeneity of educational and career trajectories bring us to the discussion of the “star career”, the concept that success in the sense of notoriety and recognition as well as monetarily may be achieved through the pursuit of rare but highly paid professions such as musicians or professional athletes. In more disadvantaged neighborhoods “lack of such strong social ties… means social control of alternative behaviors is diminished; local institutions are weak and collective behavior is more difficult” (Shaw and McKay [no page number available], 1969). Harding discusses how in poorer areas these ambitions of the star career linger for much longer while in wealthier areas parents as well as the students on their own eventually shift into more sensible aspirations.
Collective efficacy centers primarily on the group’s operative capabilities, collective efficacy is in fact the emergence of property that is more than the sum of each individual’s contributions and attributes, but also includes how the group is structured and how the community members interact with one and other. Collective efficacy is a intermediary instrument between disadvantage and social control. It is a key component of the violence level in a neighborhood, the higher collective efficacy the level of social cohesion is advanced and there is reduced crime and violence. “This hypothesis was tested on a 1995 survey of 8782 residents of 343 neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois. Multilevel analyses showed that...

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