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Jackson Snider

Mrs. Chemberlin
Sociology 101
8 May 2015
Reflection Paper
The sociological perspective can be used to analyze many different elements of cultures
and groups. The sociological imagination is the complex interactive relationship between microlevel individual experiences and macro level public issues (Ballantine 10). I believe that this
perspective has value. It can be used to analyze many types of social issues. I also believe that it
is helpful to determine who I am as a member of society and what that represents in a social
context. The different types of sociological theories can also be used to describe the sociological
perspective. A major factor into what kind of person I am has to do with what culture I am
associated with.
As a member of society, I think I belong to the band culture. Therefore I consider being a
band member as my role in society. Over the last seven years I have been associated with music.
Whether it was concert band, community band, marching band, or jazz band. I think this not only
because I have a passion for band, but also because that is how I am perceived in the community.
For example during the Maple Syrup Festival I played in the annual community band concert.
The next day I marched in the parade. Even at school when I am absent my fellow classmates
assume it is because of a band function. Within the culture that is band I am in a subculture
which is my section. Being in percussion I am a very loose player who enjoys cracking jokes.
Flute players are the polar opposite and usually extremely attentive. They will follow any order
given to them just like sheep. The way I go about this is a micro perspective. The cause of my

micro perspective is due to the macro one. For years the percussion section has been a laid back,
goofy section. Due to this long term pattern I am a more relaxed player, whether I am performing
or just learning in a classroom. It has even benefited me in a my public speaking skills. That is
why the sociological perspective has value because things on a micro scale can be explained
through trends set by the macro.
The sociological perspective also has theories that can be used to explain certain things.
One of those theories is conflict theory. Conflict theory identifies tension between meso and
macro levels (Ballantine 84). It also states that conflict is inevitable within a group. For example,
lets say a trumpet player named Keith quits band right before a big competition. On one level
the trumpet player might be quitting because of personal issues. This would create conflict with
not only his section but the entire band as a whole. The root of conflict stems from Keiths
personal struggle trumping his regard of the bands belief in loyalty and teamwork. He went
against social norms and did something that was ultimately deviant in nature. Another theory is
rational choice theory. The best way for me to explain rational choice is basically people will
make decisions based on awards v.s costs system. Kind of like a tradeoff. Even though Keith
loved to play trumpet it just was not worth dealing with his personal issues with the teacher. His
ego got in the way of a unique talent because he chose to be stubborn and thought not only the
band was beneath him but the members as well.
Social stratification can also be applied to life as high school student, especially if you are
in a group like band or even if you play sports. Stratification refers to how individuals and
groups are or ranked in society according to how many valued resources they possess (Ballantine
176). In sports stratification is a surrounding factor. For example in football there are rankings
that determine whether or not somebody starts or not. If one quarterback has better accuracy and

a stronger arm than they will most likely beat out the weaker player. There is definitely a rank
system in band. At the very top we have Mrs. Gross which is our band director. She holds the
most power because she is our instructor and leader. Then you have the two drum majors that
conduct us on the marching field. As for myself I am a section leader and section leaders are the
top ranked player of the subcultures. Becoming a section leader was an achieved status. I was not
born as section leader; I had to earn it in an audition. From then you have chair placements
depending on how many people are in each section which is subject to change on a fairly
frequent basis. I think this ongoing cycle of ranking is beneficial to any organization because it
keeps people improving their skills and to set goals that will help them reach their full potential.
I think that cultural relativism could be related to any type of group. Cultural relativism
requires setting aside cultural and personal beliefs and prejudices to understand another group or
society through the eyes of a member of that community using its own standards (Ballantine 69).
For example it would be like understand that people in football can be benched because there is a
finite amount of starters that can be playing on the field at one time. Compared to band where we
can have as many players as we want because it is a class and anybody is able to take it. Whether
either group is doing well or bad it is important to not judge the way they do things. That leads to
ethnocentrism which is the tendency to view its ones culture as superior (Ballantine 67) I think
this way of thinking is wrong because it prevents us as a society from progressing and evolving.
For example let's say my band is not very motivated to try as hard at state festival because we are
bored with the material that is being played. Maybe then Mrs. Gross sees the head coach of the
football team giving a pep talk right before a big game. She sees that is works and decides to do
the same thing to us before festival. If we were ethnocentric than we would be more close
minded and skeptical to use different strategies.

Culture is a big part of who we are as people. If it was not for being in band I would not
have the skills I have learned, the experiences I have had, or even the great friends I have made.
The sociological perspective is used to analyze many aspects of culture. It can be applied to all
sorts of theories. Social issues can arise and be looked at through this perspective. It definitely
helps me figure out who I am as a member of society and what I symbolize in a social context.
That just because I am a band member, does not mean I cant take ideas from other cultures. That
is why the sociological perspective can be applied to everyday life and has value.

Works Cited
Ballantine, Jeanne H., and Keith A. Roberts. Our Social World: Introduction to Sociology 4. Los
Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2014. Print.