Examples of Sociological Imagination in Everyday Life: The Conflict Perspective on Social Issues
Digital divide is seen as enhancing social inequalities in the society in terms of class, race and geographical location; the intersection theory appears to negate the said social inequalities in the said elements. The notion is that according to intersection theory it is not possible to isolate class, gender, race, or sexual orientation; the reason for this assertion is that the said attributes shape one another. For instance, when one examines race to determine its merits and demerits, he can only do so by examining how it is shaped by class and gender. The intersection of these attributes determines how one experiences a single attribute; for instance, the stereotypes assigned to an African American woman; they are influenced by her gender as a woman, her race and in most cases her social status (Griffiths et al. 2016). In this regard, the same case applies with digital divide, whereby no single attribute of race, gender, class, age or geographical location can be said to contribute to the social inequality.
Digital divide can be paired with the sociological imagination that is the awareness of the association amidst an individual’s behavior and experience and ways through which the wider culture shapes the perceptions and choices of the individual (Griffiths et al. 2016). In other words, the sociological imagination pays attention on the way in which an individual views his own and other people’s behavior in regard to social structure and history. For instance, an African American that is a low-income earner aligning his situation and that of other people in his community to a historical event such as slavery, in which African Americans worked for the whites with little to no pay. The sociological imagination can thus be aligned with digital divide whereby students from poor communities occupied by minority groups such as African Americans can use their historical and social structure to explain their low adoption of technology, compared to students from affluent communities occupied by whites. While the poor community schools have limited technology adoption, those in the affluent white communities have high technology adoption rates as a result of their history of affluence and wealth. In relation to subordinate group, which refers to a minority group, digital divide would be expounded in terms of social class status, which singles out the said group from the dominant group or the majority (Griffiths et al. 2016). For instance, subordinate group can be used to represent African Americans, whose adoption of technology is lower compared to a dominant group such as whites. Authority, economic and sociopolitical characteristics distinguish between the subordinate group and dominant group, as the dominant group appears to have influence and superiority over the subordinate group.
The other sociological concept that can be utilized to help explain reasons some races/ethnicities are either more or less likely to use and benefit from modern technology is conflict perspective. Conflict perspective is a macro-analytical view that expounds on how inequality begins and expands (Griffiths et al. 2016). Innately, conflict perspective is the best sociological view that can explain digital divide from the point of systematic inequality; for instance, social class variation in which a society is segmented in terms of social classes; the upper and middle social class individuals living in the affluence urban and suburban areas; while the lower social class lives in slums or communities with limited public amenities that are also overcrowded. The adoption of technology will not be a priority among the lower social class individuals as their attention will be focuses on accessing other basic human amenities such as water, shelter and food. However, in the upper and middle social class areas, the individuals will be focusing on installing the latest technology so as to make their lives easier. The increased number of digital homes in the affluent areas of the United States, is a clear illustration of the conflict perspective that enhances digital divide; as it might be sometimes very difficult to even access a single camera in the streets of the areas occupied by the low-income earners living in slums. In conflict perspective, technology is viewed as a factor that enhances the reproduction of inequality in the society.
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