SOCY 100 Zhejiang University US Involvement in the UN Discussion Questions

Discussion: U.S. Involvement in the U.N.

Read the following 2 articles, plus the module’s “SOCY 100 Week 11 PPT”, then answer the following:

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History of the U.N.

Funding of the United Nations: What Impact Do U.S. Contributions Have on U.N. Agencies & Programs?

1. Identify an article on a recent development regarding the relationship between the U.S. & U.N. (e.g., tensions over global warming/climate change, peacekeeping missions, monies to sexual and reproductive health services…). Share the link with us, providing a summary of the situation.

2. What is your take on the power and influence the United States has on issues taken on by the U.N.?

3. How are other nations reacting to this situation between the U.S. and U.N.?

4. Consider the world as an interdependent organism, as discussed in our PPT. What allows the U.N. to work together easily? What poses challenges? Consider the common purposes at play, social problems caused by globalization and glocalization, and the social capital involved in being a part of the U.N.

5. How do you feel about the role of the United States in the U.N.? What kind of role should the U.S. have, if any? What kind of struggle does the U.S., or any nation, for that matter, face in its balance of self-reliance vs. interdependence?

6. Is the U.S. a technocratic-financial-managerial elite of sorts when it comes to the U.N.? Is it approaching the U.N. as an oligarchy? Support your position.

SOCY 100:
WEEK 11 LECTURE
“Society, like the human body, has
interrelated parts, needs, and
functions.”
– Emile Durkheim
(1858 – 1917)
French Sociologist
AN ORGAN OF AN ORGANISM:
SEPARATE PARTS SERVING A PURPOSE
– Humans have evolved from gathering in small, homogenous groups/communities to forming
large, complex societies.
-> Religion and culture created a collective consciousness that provided
solidarity in traditional society.
-> In modern society, the division of labor has brought about
increased specialization and the focus is more on the
individual vs. the collective.
*Solidarity now comes from the interdependence of individuals with specialized functions.
SOCIETY IS A
SUM OF ITS
PARTS
Durkheim focused on society as a whole, its
institutions (vs. individual actions and motivations
within).
He connected the development of modern society
with industrialization, especially its division of labor.
Modern societies have experienced a fundamental
change in social cohesion.
Society used to be held together by sense of common
purpose and experience, as well as commonly held
values and beliefs.
• The similarity of persons in a society fosters
“collective consciousness,” which is the basis of
solidarity.
• More specialized skills came with societies growing,
with self-reliance replacing interdependence.
COLLECTIVE
CONSCIOUSNESS
• Complementary differences are emphasized over
the similarity of a society’s individual members.
• This division of labor reaches its peak with
industrializations, when society has evolved to
become a complex “organism” in which individual
elements perform specialized functions, each of
which is essential to the well-being of the whole.
• Is the idea that society is structured like a biological
organism composed of distinct parts with specialized
functions.
• Durkheim identifies the “social fact” (that which exists
without being subject to any individual will being put upon
it) as driving evolution from mechanical to organic solidarity.
FUNCTIONALISM
• Is the increase in “dynamic density” ~ population
growth/concentration.
• Competition for resources becomes more intense, but with
increased population density comes possibility of greater
social interaction within the population itself.
• This leads to a division of labor that more efficiently deals
with its demands.
SOCIETIES AS BEEHIVES –
INDUSTRIOUS INSECTS WITH SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Durkheim realized that the division of labor that came with rapid industrialization
also brought social problems.
Focus has gone from community to the individual in replacing society’s collective
consciousness.
Without that framework of norms of behavior, people become disoriented and
society unstable.
Organic solidarity can only work if elements of mechanical solidarity are retained,
and members of society have sense of common purpose.
DURKHEIM, IN CLOSING
• Speed of industrialization had forced division of labor so quickly on modern society
that social interaction hadn’t developed sufficiently to become substitute for
decreasing collective consciousness.
• Individuals felt increasingly unconnected from society, especially as far as the moral
guidance that mechanical solidarity had previously given them.
• “Anomis” – is the loss of collective standards and values.
-> Leads to a sapping of individual morale.
SOCIAL CAPITAL
• 1916: U.S. social reformer L.J. Hanifan
coined term “social capital” to refer to
intangible things that count in daily life,
e.g., goodwill, sympathy, fellowship,
social intercourse.
• 19c was era of voluntarism – people
cooperated and established many
institutions, e.g., schools, missions for
the poor, charities.
• By late 20c, the State had taken on many
of these responsibilities and the civic
connections that, once unified people,
had gone into decline.
NEED FOR SOCIAL GLUE
– Social capital grows from sense of common identity and shared values, e.g.,
trust, fellowship
that
-> which helps to create voluntary associations and civic institutions
bind communities together
become
friends.
-> As lifestyles become increasingly individualized, have
disengaged by public affairs, plus neighbors and
-> Community bonds have withered.
SOCIAL CAPITAL’S 3 LINKS
1.
Bonds – forged from sense of common identity, including family, friends,
and community members
2.
3.
Bridges – include colleagues, associates & acquaintances
Linkages – connect individuals or groups further up or lower down in social
hierarchy
*Differences in types of social capital binding people are important.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT


Social networks have value.

Example: While more Americans have taken
up bowling, fewer have joined bowling
teams.
Robert D. Putnam, American sociologist,
found that demise of traditional suburban
neighborhoods in U.S. and increasing
solitude that commuters and workers face
daily, e.g., focusing on smart phone, means
that people are spending less time socializing
with those closest to them.
GLOCALIZATION
• Globalization results in different ideas, cultural forms
and products being spread worldwide, e.g., music
trends, fashion.
-> Global forms are modified locally to become
“glocalized.”
• Globalization is giving rise to new cultural forms as
global products, values, tastes become fused with local
equivalents.
-> New creative possibilities
GLOBALIZATION: SOCIAL THEORY AND GLOBAL
CULTURE (1992) – ROLAND ROBERTSON
4 areas/relationships help to explain cultural dynamics at heart of globalization:
1. Individual selves
2. Nation-state
3. World system of societies
4. Notion of a common humanity
• This focus allows one to study interacting
GLOBALIZATION:
SOCIAL THEORY
AND GLOBAL
CULTURE (1992) –
ROLAND
ROBERTSON
CON’T
aspects of person’s self-identity and their
relationship with national and global
cultural influences.
• For example, one’s self-identity is defined
in relation to a nation, to interactions
between societies and to humankind.
• There’s tension between global and local
influences on person’s experiences and
actions.
GLOBALIZATION: SOCIAL THEORY
AND GLOBAL CULTURE (1992) –
ROBERTSON CON’T
• Robertson emphasizes “global unicity” – ways
in which globalization & cultural exchange
seem to be giving rise to global culture.
• World is becoming dominated by Western
cultural products and beliefs, e.g., Hollywood
movies and U.S. pop music.
• Is made possible by increasing connectivity of
societies and by people’s awareness of world
as single sociocultural entity.
• Yet, local cultures are adopting and redefining
any global cultural product to suit their
particular needs, beliefs, and customs.
• Robertson popularized term “glocalization”.
NETWORKED WORLD
• “Network society”, coined by U.S. sociologist Daniel Bell
in 1970s, captures fact that societies have left behind
Industrial Age and entered Information Age.
• Is an interconnected global community of interests.
-> access to the network or “space of flows” is no
longer the preserve of a dominant social
group.
-> Anyone, anywhere can use
telecommunications-based technology for any
creative
purpose
NETWORKED
WORLD
CON’T
“Society” used to mean “nation-state”, for the most
part, but the world of relatively autonomous nationstates, with their own internally structured societies,
is no longer.
It has been re-imagined as multitudes of
overlapping and intersecting networks.
Manuel Castells, a Spanish sociologist, has
concluded that networked relations have changed
the structure of society over time.
CASTELLS
• Individuals working within large multinational
finance houses and institutions, and whose
professional work is structured within and thru
networks of global financial flows, compromise a
dominant social group – technocratic-financialmanagerial elite.
• They occupy the key posts of command and
control within the worldwide system – the global
city.
• They’re able to reproduce its cosmopolitan
practices and interests.
CASTELLS
CON’T

In contrast, the lives of the masses tend to be local and
organized around where people live/shared ways of life.

As more people have access to the Internet, all kinds of
people are occupying the online space and using it for
their purposes.
ROBERT MICHELS (1976 – 1936) ON OLIGARCHY
“Who says organization, says oligarchy.” – Michels
• Held that bureaucracy is enemy of individual liberty.
• Size and complexities of democracies require hierarchy –
leadership with clear chain of command and separate from
masses.
• Increases efficiency, but concentrates power and endangers
democracy with oligarchy (a few having rule over many).
• Interests of elites of organizations become key focus instead of
needs of the people.
CLOSING FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“Let us not… ask… why certain people want to
dominate… Let us ask, instead, how things work at the
level of … processes, which subject our bodies, govern
our gestures, dictate our behaviors.” – Foucault
• Are you a citizen or subject?
“If one wants to analyze the genealogy of the subject in
Western civilization, he has to take into account not only
techniques of domination, but also techniques of the
self.” – Foucault

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