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McCauley 1 Katelyn McCauley Sociology 1010 1:00 Dr.

Karen Shores 25 October 2013 Sociological Experiences in Modern Society Since the beginning of time, our planet has been inundated with a myriad of fascinating while often accidental experiments in sociological interaction. Perhaps the most notable contemporary exhibition of sociological principles in action occurred in the fledgling nation of Germany in the mid twentieth century. During the fascist Nazi governmental lapse of that country, sociological norms and expectations were hijacked by an evil genius with a hideous mustache. The German populace was craftily hoodwinked into violating common sociological values of respect, equality, and humanity as they committed reproachable human rights violations upon several European minorities. While this is quite an extreme example of the flagrant flouting of societal norms, we can see miniscule versions of it in our daily lives when a person abstains from showering for extended periods of time, speaks loudly in a library, or sits unnecessarily and awkwardly close to you in a movie theater. Using basic principles of sociology, we may discover interesting social reactions to blatant violations of expected behavioral norms or folkways; in an effort to uncover these reactions, I performed a quirky variation of an expected interpersonal interaction several times in order to observe subsequent unique reactions. In order to observe distinctive public reactions to broken social norms, I decided to venture out into public areas namely parks and other large open spaces to attempt to get handshakes from random passers by. The first step in the process was to head to Liberty Park to see if I could find a steady stream of people. I found the middle of the park to be teeming with

McCauley 2 recreators it was a Saturday afternoon and decided to set up shop there. I approached dozens of people as they meandered down the main walkway and approached them; the main reaction I received was a mild sense of puzzlement and reluctant entrance into the handshake. Most people walked away slightly bewildered and trying to mentally piece together what had just occurred, probably thinking to themselves who was that person and why did they want to shake my hand?. Throughout the process, I utilized the practices of unobtrusive observation and participant observation to select individuals who I thought would be good candidates for responding to my actions, and I avoided those who looked particularly scary or dangerous. Even in this I was demonstrating a small scale view of ethnocentrism. In my view people who looked and dressed a certain way, were scary and dangerous simply because they did not resemble me or those I knew. As I journeyed through the park I did come upon a subculture of persons gathering in an area named the drum circle. People were dancing, smoking, and fulfilling the title of hippies. This group was much more accepting and I found people to be much more receptive to my handshakes. Some even invited that I join them in their activities but I chose to stick to my research. I practiced more unobtrusive observation by sitting on a hill and watching as people walked past the circle. I witnessed these free-spirited flower-children receiving multiple displays of negative sanctions. People were staring, some even pointing or laughing at how this group chose to behave in a public environment. Throughout my research I discovered that our people as a whole have been raised in a society, which separates people into their own bubbles. It is viewed as being overly friendly or strange to introduce yourself to strangers or to try to enter another persons individual universe. Some people seemed to question my intentions and others simply avoided eye contact. It was quite interesting to see that people have been so trained to not trust those around them that even a simple interaction can seem loaded and dangerous. In some cultures it is acceptable to show

McCauley 3 affection to people who you have just met. However, it seems that in our culture people feel that something more will be expected or a person is about to jump out of the bushes with a camera. They clutch their purses or refuse to look you in the eye, all for a simple gesture of touching hands for but a moment.