In contributions to the symbolic interactionism perspective and

In the first unit of this course we have looked at the evolution of man from it’s earliest form and how the development of the human brain has been able to over time help man to develop ways of hunting and gathering more efficiently, organizing their communities, communicating with one another. These later helped to pave the way for humans to be able to do more complex tasks such as regulate sexual drives and develop an increased sensitivity to one another. We also looked at the symbolic interactionism perspective and the five central ideas that surround it. Then we read about George Herbert Mead and his contributions to the symbolic interactionism perspective and also looked at his different influences like Charles Darwin and behaviorism.  Lastly we looked at some of the alternative perspectives from Charles K. Warriner and Tamotsu Shibutani. Warriner argues that humans are not passive actors, we adapt with every different situation that we are placed in and that humans should be understood as not just physical, but also symbolic, social, and mental (Charon, 2010, p 40). Shibutani states that humans use perspectives to help to organize and make sense of the world around them, and that term perspective is used as a definition, while attitude is a response (Charon, 2010, p 40). I this paper I will be responding to three questions to and demonstrating my understanding of the concepts with reference to the materials to the course materials that have been provided to us in and essay style format. The definition of normal according to the English Oxford Living Dictionaries is “conforming to standard: usual, typical, or expected” (English Oxford living dictionaries, 2018). The Merriam Webster Dictionary also states that normal is “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule or principle” or “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern” (Merriam Webster dictionary, 2018). Natural according to the English Living Dictionaries is, “existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind” (English Oxford living dictionaries, 2018). On the Cambridge Dictionary website, they state that natural is “as found in nature and not involving anything made or done by people.  Normal and natural can in some ways, be seen as referring to a common meaning. When we say that something is normal or natural, it can mean that it is seen as a regular part of life or the way that things should be in our society. Normal or natural seems to be a kind of descriptor for following some sort of unspoken rule or guideline and is therefore never questioned because we are made to believe that that is the way things ought to be. Like when we say that risky behaviour in teenagers is a normal part of growing up or how growing facial hair is natural. Being normal, or natural is always used in regular conversation to describe a person, or an object as that we as human beings have decided is they way we want and expect them to be. What we decide to call normal, and natural may also be culturally specific because what we may think of as an abnormality or something that is unnatural in one part of the world may be considered normal in another.  Natural and normal can be seen as having very different meaning as well. Dictionary definitions state that natural is supposed to be something that exists outside of humans and human influence. So if natural by definition is something that is supposed to exist apart from humans, than how can humans be natural? Normal on the other hand, means that to conform to a set of rules that have been put in place. By not deviating from what has already been decided as the “norm”, we avoid exclusion from the groups that we belong to. Whether that be a society at large or a small group of friends. We consider for example people who are able-bodied to be normal or people who identify as being heterosexual. But we consider having a disability of any form to be abnormal or in some case any person who identifies as anything other than being heterosexual. The points made about the term normal and natural can be related to Berger and Luckmann’s ideas about human nature. They state that humans seem to be the only creatures that do not have a real relationship with the world around them (Foui, 2018, p. 6). Other animals rely on their biological instincts, humans unlike any other species do not seem to be born with the same kind of natural instincts. It would seem then that humans by definition would not follow into the category of natural. So what is “human nature”. Humans were able to through evolution, develop ways of communicating, organizing, and creating social inventions to make sense on the environment around them (Becker, 1971, p.11). Humans also do not share common traits, or attributes across the board when it comes to aspects of our behaviour, so it would be difficult to make generalizations about all humans when we do not all behave in similar ways (Foui, 2018, p. 6). Peter Berger states that culture is what makes up for the absence of the biological drives that guide other animals in nature (Foui, 2018, p. 6).  Homosexuality and heterosexuality can in a way be considered to be both normal and natural.  If your purpose or main goal is to have viable offspring that you hope will go on and have offspring themselves, that requires a male and female partnership. In some religions there is the belief that humans are meant to continuously repopulate the world. Being heterosexual means that in a sense you are conforming or following a set of rules that have been laid out. In our society being heterosexual is to be normal. If you also want to look at heterosexuality through a biological lens, the ability to create a child is considered a natural process. Just like all other animal on the planet, it is generally male and female partners that come together to create offspring. This is not always the case though.  Homosexuality can also be seen as both natural and normal. Homosexuality occurs in human nature just as heterosexuality does. No one necessarily wakes up and decides one day what their sexual orientation will be. “Humans demonstrate remarkable flexibility as some sublimate their sexual drive in celibacy, while others develop heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual lifestyles” (Foui, 2018, p.5). This means that there is no one particular sexuality that can be considered normal over the other. Anyone has the capacity to have a sexual relationship with any other person. Even in the animal world there are some examples where homosexuality is commonplace. Our society is no different. But with the changing dynamics of our society, identifying as anything other than strictly heterosexual is slowly starting to be seen as something that is normal and not deviating from some unspoken code on sexual orientation.  I think that homosexuality does not need more of a sociological explanation for its existence than heterosexuality does. I feel as though a lot of questions have been put into why people are homosexual and whether or not being homosexual is biologically determined or whether there is a cultural influence. Some people may even believe that a person may choose to be homosexual. Although I do believe that it is important for us to more into why some people are homosexual I do not think that it needs to be looked at with more scrutiny than why people may be heterosexual. In fact, I believe that we should also be looking more into depth on what may cause a person to be heterosexual. We make the assumption that heterosexuality is normal and that homosexuality is abnormal but who is the one that decided that? Homosexuality appears frequently in both the human and the animal world. So if were are looking a homosexuality from the perspective that it is a strange occurrence and it needs to be observed under a microscope, I think that it is actually much more commonplace and that we should look into why people are heterosexual with the same level of curiosity. Reproduction can be seen as the normalcy for a sexual orientation because of the belief that a people are meant to keep giving birth to children. If you exclude new reproductive technologies that may help homosexual couples to have children, the only couples that would be able to reproduce would be the heterosexual couples. Also because of the societal norms that have been created in society, we see that the natural processes of having children is normal or more normal than the inability to produce offspring with a partner of the same sex. If you buy into the belief that the reproductive organs are only meant to be used for procreation then reproduction could be seen as an indicator of being normal. Anything other than that would be seen as deviating from the norm and usually becomes a topic of both criticism and scrutiny from other members in the community or society as a whole. One could argue that even though a relationship between two people that is fruitful, satisfying and meaningful but lacks children, may neglect some of the needs of the human species. Ernest Becker in his book The Birth and Death of Meaning, he states that “the rules and regulations about sex and cooperation become stimuli to self-restraint, patience and planning, the development of richer symbolisms” (Becker, 1971, p. 4). So the ability of early man being able to decide who got to mate with who and how their community slowly overtime helped to differentiate ourselves from our ape relatives. Later Becker goes on to through evolution, mammals had an increased dependence on their mother and because of that, the offspring now had a role model to learn from and help guide their behaviour (Becker, 1971, p. 8). If humans did not have children then they could not pass on the wisdom and knowledge to future generations. If certain knowledge died with members that opted not to have children to pass down this information, some of the advances and creations that lead to technologies that we enjoy today might have never came about.  Another point that Becker made is that because of the increased dependency of young mammals on their mother’s also helped the young to develop a sensitivity for other creatures of the same species (Becker, 1971, p. 8). With an increased sensitivity towards one another it “allows each animal to be cognizant in some way of the part he is to play in the life of the group” (Becker, 1971, p. 10). So because young mammals had the time to be around their mothers and gain an increased sensitivity to other animals, that allowed humans the chance to really question their contributions to their communities and really find a sense of belonging and feel like they were really making an important contribution to the group. If a couple decided not to have children I feel as though they would be missing out on important needs of humans. For example, a sense of contributing to the community. If you have kids and you get to raise them and watch them grow up to also be contributing members of society, you as an parent will feel as though you have played and important part in helping your community to grow and to continue functioning normally. Also as a parent if you have children, then you not only can keep your family line going for many years to come in the future, but you are also able to pass down valuable information through your children. That is how a culture can survive and if knowledge does not get passed down, that is how a whole way of life, technologies, language, and culture gets lost to history. Had early man not seen it important to continue to have healthy and strong offspring, than we might never have been able to look back in time to see and understand our roots, and how we as a species made to the place that we are at today.  So in this paper I have to the best of my abilities tried to answer the questions on homosexuality and heterosexuality, what the definitions of normal and natural mean, and my opinions on why not having children takes away from some of the need of human beings with reference to course materials and my own thoughts and opinions. Writing this essay has caused me to look deeper into the sociological perspective on who we are as human beings and what drives us to behave in the ways that we do. I am hoping that I can carry some of this new information that I have gathered and put it to good use when looking at other aspects of the study of Sociology and in my other studies as well.       


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