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Social Dilemma- Free Rider Problem


Vernhis Mata

Social Dilemma- Free Rider Problem

Social Dilemma occurs when individuals in a group are only out for their benefits or self interests regardless of the potential ruin of society in the long run because of individual’s tendency to pursue their own short term interest. There are two important types of social dilemmas tragedy of the commons & free- rider problem which will be the one discussed.

Free Rider problem is the tendency for people to refrain from contributing to the common goods when resources are available without requiring any personal cost.  So people don’t contribute because the resource is still available even if they contribute or not. The free rider problem mainly occurs with public goods. Public goods as stated in the video are non-rival and non-excludable goods or services. Non-rival where the consumption of one person doesn’t decrease someone else’s enjoyment of the good or service. Non-excludable you cannot prevent one person or another from using the good or service such as the ocean.

Examples of public goods that face the free rider problems are police, fire fighters, roads, national defense, fireworks, and other municipal or community services. Most of these public services are available to all even those who don’t even pay taxes. Also a person using one of the services doesn’t decrease the next person enjoyment of the service.  But public goods are usually misused or not taken care of because people don’t really take responsibility for them since it’s not really theirs.  In an effort to provide these services which we so much enjoy government have mandatory taxes. If taxes were voluntary we would most likely not have the funds to enjoy these services because we only think about our immediate benefits and interest.

Another example is a channel like PBS, most people who watch the channel dont really give any contribution because they feel like its always there regardless of their donation or not. But if everyone acted in the same way we would eventually loose the resource.

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What is Crime? Labeling Theory- Social Construction of Crime


Vernhis Mata

Labeling Theory- Social Construction of Crime

Deviance refers to the act, ideas, or other attributes such as the way people look that some people in society find offensive, evil, immoral, or sinful. So deviance is a socially disapproved behavior or violation of agreed norms in communities or society at large. But who decides what makes an act deviant? There are three steps that go about it. One some expectation is expected & held. Two there must be a violation of the norm, & thirdly society’s reaction to the deviance makes it deviant.

In regards to crime how do we know when something is a crime? Should we make it a crime to jump on the train without paying thus the person is committing a deviance? What if it wasn’t a crime to get in the train without paying then that person would not be deviant anymore which leads to the labeling theory. This means that is not the act that is deviant but it is society’s reaction to the act that makes it deviant. What is good or bad is in the eyes of who sees it. Take for example 911 it the most terrible thing that could have happened to NYC. We see terrorist as deviant but who knows maybe to people who are part of their organization sees us as deviant.  Maybe to Bin Ladens groups these terrorist that day were fighting for an idea and thus doing what was correct for them. So even though murder is really wrong in my opinion they probably thought it was okay to do what they did.

Once labeled it is really hard to get rid of the label. Take for example rapist, drug dealers, killers even when they do their time people would never look at them in the same way. But there are always ways to resist labeling although not totally, power is one of them. Clinton was able to resist it even when he was under oath. The country was running on a surplus like never before he had power &  people liked him and didn’t care if he lied or not. His act was not deviant just because society’s reaction didn’t make it deviant.

Not everyone is labeled the same take for example the teacher from the book who seduced the young boy. After being caught with a boy whom she married and then 10 years later arrested for another boy she still wasn’t fired, instead she was given an early retirement. It would have been a whole different case if it would have been a man seducing a young girl. In all, crime is what most of the time people with power decide that is wrong, other times is due to morality cause we can all agree across the board that murder is a crime. So acts are only deviant when labeled by society in that way & from the reaction it forms.

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Agents of Socialization


Through socialization-(process of learning) the needs of the society in which we live becomes our individual needs.  Our learning process or becoming who we are is based on various individuals, groups, organizations or institution a person may come in contact with. These are called agents of socialization, which are family, peers, schools, religious institutions and media. These agents influence our behavior, attitudes, tastes, goals, emotions, values and behavior.

Family is our primary source of personal socialization our family shapes who we are in terms of beliefs, values and even our strengths.   Education is the second most important agent of socialization. It is more impersonal, is the transmission of knowledge, it teaches us to be more passive and non-problematic. It teaches us the bigger picture of the world at large makes us socialize with different groups of people where we encounter different beliefs and cultures. Through education we get the bigger picture of the world as a larger society not just our family’s view. Religion is another agent of socialization through which we learn values that we wouldnt otherwise have. Religion sometimes gives strength that we wouldn’t have either. Sometimes we need guidance in life religion may give that peace, guidance or even strength we might need through some tough times such as death of a close sibling.

The third most important agent of socialization that influences who we are is the media. It transmits messages about the type of people we should be as they wish.  Media influences what we eat, drink our beliefs almost every aspect of our lives are influenced by the media. This is an election year and according to the Washington post “television and ad buys are typically the single largest expenditure of a presidential campaign”. As you can see it is proven that media can really change or maintain a voter. Therefore that’s why media is one of the largest most influential agent of socialization. Lastly peers can be influential towards who we are as they say “tell who you hang out with and I will tell you who you are”.

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Goofman’s Theather


Impression management is the process by which we try to show a positive public image. We are constantly judging others or being judged ourselves. There is rarely a time when we are being ourselves since we have different roles in life, we must always be making the most positive impression at each role we have just like actors.  Roles such as parents, worker, student etc. at each role we have we are always acting the way that is most favorable to us
This is Goffman’s theory that people are like actors on stage in the everyday life, dramaturgy- the study of social interaction as theater. His theory is that we go through life as if we were acting on a stage we have the following.
Audiences: people observing our behaviors
Roles: the images we want to show of ourselves or project
Scripts: the communications we use with others to show this role or image
Props: the objects used to portray the image we want to achieve
Just like in the theater we have front and back stage, the front stage is where we play our role and maintain the appropriate image to succeed. The back stage is the only time we can disregard impression management where we are ourselves.  In the video we can see how Elsa the girl studying tries to portray the image of a very studious girl to her classmate when she is clearly not accordint to the video.
As stated in the video her stage is the library
Costume:  hoodie sweater
Props: calculator, books, notes
Script: using language such as philanthropy trying to seem very serious about her knowledge
Audience: Classmate
Front stage she seems like a very studios person or at least that the image she is trying to show
Back stage Elsa parties all the time.
So life seems like it really a theater we are always trying to show different public images to achieve or get to where we want to get. Sometimes we must be vulnerable and other times tough to get to where we want to get. So life is like all about having the best impression management at each stage or role have in ordrer to obtain positive results.
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Sociolization: Nature vs. Nurture


Vernhis Mata
Socialization is the way we acquire culture to become part of society.  The way we learn to act in accordance to the rules and expectation of the particular culture we belong to. But how do we become who we are? Why do we behave the way we do? Do much of our behaviors come from genetics or how much is based on the influences of the outside world? This is the argument of Nature vs. Nurture. Nature being our genetics, our biology the way we are born; while Nurture being our environment that shapes us and makes us who we are. We wonder if its is an interaction between the two.
Just like the professor from the video I would think that our lives are based on both nature and nurture, that we need a combination of both to survive. Take for example the Harlow’s monkey experiment that is mentioned; where the monkey goes to the wired mother for food its necessity, but spends most of his hours with the cloth mother for comfort and love. That comfort and love would be the nurture that we require from life to survive.
We have inborn needs and fears as well as environmental needs and fears. Fears that occur as we grow depending on our family, culture our nurture. Let’s say a gun for example some people die without ever seeing a gun and afraid of seeing one (Illegal by the way), while for others who are nurtured by violence might be normal to even have one & probably use it too.  Over all I believe that nature are your physical attributes or genetics that put us in specific position. While nurture gives us the place of who we are and it shapes us within the specific position we are put on.


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Role Conflict

Role Conflict- Police Officer

Role Conflict- frustration that people feel when the demands of one role they are expected to fulfill clash with the demands of another role. Every day we face these challenges in our lives, where we are stressed by so many demands we have to meet in our daily basis. In reality we are only capable of doing so much at a time, but when more is required it creates chaos.

In this video a Henry Waller left his role as a police officer for his role as a husband during Katrina in New Orleans. He has been a cop for eight & half years already a high ranking officer, during the disaster he was one of the few officers to leave. His dilemma caused stressed for himself & his wife, for whom he decided. The officer faced a tough position because when becoming a cop he swears to protect the public but his role as a husband was also really important for him.

When making decisions that puts your roles in conflict I would think people will most likely weight things out and decide for what it most important at that moment. When loved ones are involved the situation creates a burden on the person making the decision.  For Waller he couldn’t leave his wife alone even though he knew his responsibility was other. In cases of disaster people love ones will probably weight way more than the public which is why I understand the decision that Waller made. I would have probably do the same especially since he felt as if he would not be able to get to his family if he went in to help the public.

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