QUESTION 1: What is a “credential society?” Is there too much of an emphasis on credentials in the United States? If so, how might this be harmful? To whom? Discuss education in the U.S. from the point of view of a functionalist or conflict theorist. Also use examples from the text in your answer.
STUDENT #1 (Janze):
A credential society is one in which higher learning from academic institutions has become the norm and almost the backbone of most democratic societies. I believe Chambliss sums it up perfectly when he states, “It came to be seen as the birthright of all society members.” (Chambliss & Eglittis, 297) I do believe that there is too much of an emphasis on credentials in the United States due to several reasons. Firstly, when looking at the on the job training that one gets from a company when they first start, there are only a few jobs that require you to heavily rely on what you learned in school, as opposed to what you will be taught in your job orientation. I’m sure if we were to look at a job such as business consulting, yes it would be somewhat helpful to have a background in basic economics, which is taught at the high school level, but it is required of you to have a Bachelor’s Degree to even apply. A majority of consulting is learning what your firm does and what it can do for its clients. With this being said, you are never asked to “refer back to your junior year in college finance course” to try and solve a problem, you instead go off of what you were taught in orientation and through life experience, and try to solve the problem that way. I believe that this is the big flaw in higher education. Although I agree that higher education can always considered a good thing, at the end of the day, it is the on-the-job training that an employee receives in most cases that allows them to be successful in the work place. This is why it can be aggravating for college students at Universities that are “paying an average of $37,172 in student loan debt after graduation” (U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics), for a job that only wanted to see a degree because “college degrees show dedication to work.”
Looking at education from the point of view of a functionalist theorist would be a little different. From a functionalist’s perspective we would look at higher learning requirements as a good thing. Those who were unable to attend, or failed to do so would be considered a deviancy and thus an outcast of the “functionalistic cog” so to speak. This in turn would help shape future generations by only allowing those who received higher learning to continue to succeed. From a conflict theorist’s point of view, education in the U.S. is very similar but different than a functionalist theorist’s perspective. Although they would agree that those in society that were unable to attend higher learning or did not want to would be considered a deviancy from the norm, a conflict theorist would also argue that it is because of those that are currently in power that this is the case. Those in power are the ones who decide who can and cannot attend higher learning, whether it be by making tests a certain way, or by manipulating requirements for admissions, it is decided by those in power.
Eglitis, Daina & Chambliss, W. J. (2n.d.). Discover Sociology 2E Custom Interactive E-Book Edition, 2nd Edition. Los Angeles: SAGE.
U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-stat…
QUESTION 2 (for student 2&3): Since the 1970s, the traditional family has been changing as we have experienced steady trends with growing numbers of divorces and more children born out of wedlock. Should the legal system make it more difficult for married couples to obtain a divorce, and harder for people to cohabit outside of marriage, especially when children are involved? What can the United States government do to strengthen families and marriages in American society? How can the people change the culture to strengthen families and marriages? Refer to examples from the text to support your answer. Now, critique your answer from the point of view of a functionalist or a conflict theorist.
STUDENT #2 (lester):
Over the past few decades the traditional family has changed in many ways, so much so that traditional families are rare to find today. In the early years of the United States it was very uncommon for a couple to divorce and today it seems half the people I know are divorced or have been divorced before. I do believe that most people use divorced as an easy way out. I myself have been divorced and in going through the process I had to give a cause as to why I wanted a divorce. In my case I filed for divorce due to physical and emotional abuse. However I do know that some couples file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. When it comes to divorce I believe that the cause should be considered more in terms of granting the divorce or not. If someone were in my situation the by all means the divorce should be granted however if they are divorcing for something like irreconcilable differences they should be mandated to see a marriage counselor for a period of time before the divorce is granted. As far as cohabitation outside of marriage when children are involved would depend on the situation. If the couple cohabitating are the biological mother and biological father then I see no problem with it. However if the children do not biological belong to one of the adults cohabitating then I believe this should not be allowed simply because to me it is not fair to the children if the relationship does not work out. I do not think there is anything the government can do to strengthen families and marriages in American society. The people in our culture can strengthen families and marriages by giving their children a good example of family life and marriage to form their own families and marriage on. I absolutely know that I based my marriage and raising my children on my parents and how they raised me. Critiquing from the conflict theorist point of view is that in a marriage or family there is going to be conflict over money, the household, and children. When pertaining to conflicts in marriage and family it is a power struggle between husband and wife over which way to go about a problem. Before men had more control over decisions to solve problems and in todays’ society it is an equal split between husband and wife.
Chambliss, W. J., & Eglitis, D. S. (2016). Discover Sociology (2nd ed.).
STUDENT #3 (leane):
In todays society it is so different then it was back in the 1970’s we have children with parents whom aren’t married, we have single parents, we have married couples, we have couples, we have married people with kids, and single people. Having a kid with someone doesn’t guarantee your married to this person in this age, or will stay married. Considering marriage is binding two people in a contract stating that they love each other till death do them apart. People seem to think, yes that is what needs to happen. Sometimes there are certain circumstances on why people get divorces. (Financial Stress, Cheating, Domestic Violence, Falling out of Love, No Respect, and Trust, Lack of Communication, Incompatibility, Addiction, and ETC.) This is a hard one for me because me, and my husband were talking separating this past month due to some circumstances. I find that many people can put in their input like society, marriage counselors, friends, family, and etc. That doesn’t matter it is ultimately your decision at the end of the day. I think people need to open their eyes a realize sometimes things happen, you can either stand by the person who is going through divorce there are going to be tons of emotions so many I went through this past month I remember just sitting there holding my son rocking back and forth thinking of what people were going to think of me being a single mom at the age of twenty-three, and divorced. Working my butt off, going to school while Jasen is at the sitter most of the day. I was willing to spilt custody with my husband also 50 50. Is this something temporary? Is this the best decision? I just want to say there was so many different emotions, you want to stand by someone, the only joys I had was my son, make sure they are okay. I was defiantly one of the darkest times I have had. I know, it was such a long month. My husband told me he was willing to pot in the effort and I was too. I was happy to think that he took in consideration of what I thought/ said. Marriage takes two people, it takes work, I do have morals, and beliefs just like they did back in the 1970s they worked it out till they couldn’t that is how I am. I do understand, and will stand next to anyone in their decision it is one emotional thing to do. Society, family, friends, the government can’t help with any of this it won’t work. Government making it harder for people to get divorces it just going to make it worse on them and cause people to going down other routes to get out potentially. I think people whom are happy, if they don’t want to stay they shouldn’t be forced to because society says, or believes this. Strengthening families through society won’t work it starts in the home, outside family can potentially help but, society no. I think society has their way of looking at things, but, times have changed. Divorce happens, Kids born with parents unmarried happens, Kids born without both parents happen, Kid having both parents in their lives happen, and things change.