The Ku Klux Klan is considered as one of most racist and anti-Semantic group in the US. It employs all forms of techniques to achieve its interests. It is not surprising that the group employs violence to achieve its wishes and desires. It is comprised of whites and its major interest is to achieve white supremacy in the US. The group was founded after the American Civil war and has been conducting its illegal activities to date. In 2006, the group threatened to attack some members of society over gay marriage. The author, Macionis, reviews the activities of various societal groups in his book. He analyzes various sociological theories. This paper evaluates his findings.
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Synopsis of the Book
Macionis analyzes various theories that can be applied in understanding society and encourages students to explore the field of sociology using existing theories. He starts by recommending that sociology is an extensive field of study that should be analyzed systematically. He introduces students to basic terminologies in the field of sociology. The author tries to bring out the effects of social class in society. He argues that some members of society have more powers. Class conflict is what keeps the society moving. For instance, he argues that stereotyping is one of aspects that may cause societal instability.
He goes further to argue that some members of society do not understand what poverty is. He says, “white people do not understand poverty” (Macionis 11). In this text, he incites white students because there is no community that does not poor individuals. Poverty is distributed across cultures. Some students tend to view the author as racist due to his comments. In each chapter, the author tries to bring out the issue of cultural construct based on race. He relates race to social positions in society. For instance, the author notes that race and ownership of property in society are closely related.
In this book, the author emphasizes on the structural functionalist theory. He notes that members of society are influenced by societal structures such as the family, school, economy and the media. The Klu Klux Klan can be said to be operating according to the demands of the economy. The economy dictates that some members should be at the top. This is how things should be according to the theory. The author insists that the society is highly stratified based on wealth. The owners of the means of production are at the top while others follow at various levels. In case this structure is interfered with, formlessness would be inevitable in society.
The author employs the works of various scholars to explain how the society functions. For that case, the author in this book extensively utilizes the works of Max Weber and Sigmund Freud. The author claims that people are the way they are because the society stratifies them to various positions. In some instances, the author discusses the conflict theory to explain why society is always at war. In society, people are driven by self-interests. For instance, crime occurs in society because one group tries to deprive the other of its resources. Under normal circumstances, the poor would try to injure the rich because they accuse the rich for making them poor.
In this regard, tensions, divisions and conflicts would characterize the relationships between the rich and the poor. However, the author observes that both groups should coexist in society. The rich need the poor and the poor need the rich. There would be no production were it not for the poor to sacrifice their time. Conversely, the poor could not survive economically were it not for the companies owned by the rich. In this sense, the structure should be maintained for society to fucntion.
To some extent, the author shows that crime takes place in society mainly because of the historical and financial forces of capitalism. He notes that capitalism has stratified society based on wealth hence individuals resort to crime as the only option of accessing property easily. Therefore, the scholar observes that social planners should device methods of revising social, educational and financial aspects of society. This would be done through revisiting people’s backgrounds, their races and economic lives.
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The scholar shows that people in power dominate capitalistic societies. According to the author of the book, a sociological solution to crime would entail reorganizing societal wealth through changing the social system. This is a holistic approach to crime. Therefore, the society should always strive to strike a balance in case crime is to be eradicated. This would involve transforming the labor market, changing the system of education, revising wages, and revisiting the taxation system. This would reduce poverty, which might reduce the rates of crimes.
The book by John Macionis can be used to explain the conditions of many people in the US. The book is recommended to the policy makers since it exposes societal tribulations and how they can be eliminated. The author suggests that it is not possible to revise the social structure over a short time. In this regard, the policy makers should therefore strive to understand the historical and economic chances of various groups such as the Klu Klux Klan.
The book is organized well and presents ideas in a logical manner. The author suggests that Marxism is the answer to the problems facing citizens in the US. He manages to bring out the tribulations of the black race in a white dominated society. However, the book neglects some important aspects of society. For instance, the author does not talk about social exchange, which is also an important aspect of society. The author focuses much on class conflicts and forgets other tenets of sociology such as statistics. He does not talk about how data can be collected for analysis.
The major aim of feminism is liberation from the house of bondage. The author does not bring out this aspect in his analysis. Furthermore, he does not differentiate between white feminism and black feminism. As can be observed, each category of feminism aims at liberating itself from certain injustices. In this case, liberal feminism aims at achieving egalitarianism between men and women in society. This is achieved through legal and political reforms.
This would not change societal structure as argued by the author. Radical feminism relates its problems to the capitalistic economy that is controlled by men. In this regard, such groups aim at revising the existing social structure. Conservative feminism tries to understand its surrounding. Libertarian feminism asserts that people are owners of their lives meaning that they have the power to determine their own destinies. Separatist feminism argues that women should concentrate on helping themselves meaning that heterosexual relationships are irrelevant to women, an aspect that the author does not review carefully. Furthermore, economic determinism is an issue of concern to women, even though the author does not address it in his book. Women single out capitalism as being an impediment to their achievement in society.
Capitalistic ideologies discriminate women from accessing resources in society. Socialist scholars differentiate themselves from Marxism by arguing that injustices can only be abolished through revising social structure and having sound economic policies in society. Cultural feminist movement aims at ensuring women are self-sufficient and self-reliant. Towards the beginning of 1990s, a new wave of feminism emerged, which advocated for rights and freedoms of adolescent females. The movement wanted the government to come up policies that would protect young women from societal injustices such as rape and sexual harassment. In this case, young women had to be allowed to come up with make-ups of their choices including clothing and sexual allure.
Although women have managed to do away with problems affecting them, there are still some issues to deal with. The first one is related to labor market, which favors men in many ways. The government should come up with policies that aim at empowering women economically. Since the Civil War, women are still incorporated in the financial system as underdogs. Wealth lies in the hands of men implying that women are likened to the proletariat who produces goods that he or she does not consume. In most families, male partners are known to control political and economic affairs, which are more important in an individual’s life.
At work places, women are forced to work and produce goods and services just like men. Women are further required to take care of homes. This is unfair because both partners must share domestic roles in case they both work. The government should therefore look for ways to eliminate this problem because it affects the productivity of women in society.
Macionis, John. Society: The Basics. 11th ed. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.