Society and Your Daily Routine- a Connection? Yes
First faced with this question, my response was a confident “Well of course! Individuals come before society”. But then I considered it further, and doubt, like caffeine and the smell of freshly baked chocolate cookies, quickly found its way to me. Soon enough the question started going round and round my head, and I started going round and round my bedroom, another tea cup of good old caffeine in my hand . It seemed the more I looked for the answer, the more it became further away, like those Nesquik Lip Balms I’ve been hunting down (Okay the food comparisons stop here 😜)
If, when you first read the title of this article, like me you laughed it off, or immidiately shock your head “Of course”- consider one thing: from where does individualism originate?
According to sociologists, so many things that are a part of our daily life are conventions- in other words, they are constructed (and not essential for living). My daily cup of tasty Matcha tea, and listening to music as I slump lazily in my chair sadly fit into this category, although it’s refreshing to know that so do my routine walks and runs 😉
Try writing down your morning schedule and consider how many of those things you have to do to survive- no I mean literally- not replying to work emails or not going for a morning jog won’t leave you dead 😉
I noticed that so many of the things I had on my list were what sociologists regard as ‘not naturally needed’- i.e. waking early, getting dressed (this one never fails to draw sniggers 😂), showers (that too) … and yet what’s funny is that these things are what make me who I am. Without them, I’m left with things like eating and sleeping- hardly any different to cats, birds and even fish! I’m also left a very unusual looking and smelling human, not really ideal for going around town 😉
It’s interesting to consider that because so many of the things we do are conventions, a lot of what we are and what makes us individuals only makes sense when we’re with others. When you start looking at things from this perspective things get really strange, and I mean really. Countless connections you never before realised become visible to you. I always ask myself why it is I do adore reading, and really the most direct and true answer I can give you is because of my love for knowledge. Knowledge is power, enjoyment, and enlightenment, I always answer. Then one day I decide to press further: but where does knowledge come from? Is it not something created by people too? And what of power, being an element of society that, I read, is itself constructed?
I suppose going around asking yourself Oxbridge interview questions on and on isn’t going to really get you anywhere in the short run (unless you’re applying, in whhich case, knock yourself out!) On the other hand, for the majority of people, this next word probably will: agency.
It’s been argued by many sociologists that we tend to associate with people with similar backgrounds, and to a greater extent you might notice that happening in your own life.
E.g. chances are if you’re, say 14, and attend a Girls School you will spend a lot of time with girls a similar age to you, as opposed to, like, people much older than you.
Personally, I’m really interested in the arts, and the many of the clubs I’m part of, events I attend and people I talk to… I’ve been introduced to them because of this passion. I couldn’t give you one name of someone I know studying Mathematics unfortunately 😦 Other connections I have stem from my family’s social status and circles, friends of friends, and people I meet at clubs and social events- all similar to my own background.
Now- not long ago I mentioned the word agency, and this is where it comes in: the fact is, although it may be that you may only associate with people with, for instance, a similar interest to you, you can change that because you have free will (agency). If you’re a student reading Medicine at university, or if you have a Medical profession/interest and don’t meet any literature students/ people in the arts, you could always join a literature society, for example, or become a patron of the Royal Academy (or other gallery), enabling you to meet people from different fields. I find members clubs and other societies (like a reading group) are also great ways to meet people from different professions, although the former does mean you will be less likely to meet people from certain social and financial groups.
Nevertheless, the fact is that the choice is there, and really what I’ve noticed is that the more you know about structures in society, the more you can affect them. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little article about society 🙂 If you’ve got any questions feel free to drop them below! 🙂