The Myth of Individualism—Report

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Huixi Hu Section 14
The Myth of Individualism—Report
Begin with the story of Ted, the example of radical individualism is presented. He sees
himself as an individual who separates from the society and the technology and science is his
enemy. With selfishness and egoism, individualism becomes a negative phrase. The U.S. is a
country which individualism is an essential component in their culture. However, this also leads
to a “myth of individualism”. Most people think individual is opposite to the society, which in
fact, they are dependent on each other. This myth dominant the American culture nowadays. We
can also see individualism in capitalism. It emphasizes on self-interests and profit. Therefore,
there is often conflict between the interest of employer and employees. In this book, sociology
will be the buster of the myth of individualism. It promises the intellectual enlightenment, which
will lead people to the empirical reality rather than the individualism based on assumptions.
Chapter 2 mainly talked about the power of symbols and how symbols structure people’s
thinking. People use symbols to understand this world. Symbols have meanings, but these
meanings may be different considering different cultures. It is not good to use your thinking to
define others. Moreover, power matters in the creating of symbols. People or groups that have
greater powers are more likely to creating symbols to judge people who are weaker. Using the
example of witch trials and missing links, we can see how society determines who is a person but
not the person himself (herself). It is similar when we talk about people’s emotions. People tend
to show the emotions which the larger group or the society want them to show. Overall, symbols
are based on a social base and they are hard to change and eliminate because people need them to
distinguish each other.
Chapter 3 mainly talks about the relationship between authority and groups. A fake call
made people did unethical things to the woman employee in McDonald; people can give electric
shock to a stranger if someone ask them to do so; soldiers can kill someone if there is a
command. People can be good but also can be evil and they tend to obey the authorities even if
they are going to something bad. However, the students in the prison gave us a different answer,
which people tend to resist authorities if they are in a different social context. Plus, people
identify themselves according to the groups they are in, and groups based on different culture or
beliefs are likely to have conflicts and hard to merge and understand each other. Hassan found
himself uncomfortable under the American culture and the three groups in Iraq are independent
from each other and do not welcome “foreigners”. Nevertheless, people under similar culture
could reduce friction by complete common goals, just like the experiment of two groups of
summer camping boys.
Chapter 4 discusses about the relationship between family background and social class.
More and more Americans think that hard work will lead to a more successful life and a higher
social class. However, the reality is that the wealth gap is getting larger and larger. From the
example of Alexander and Tyrec, we can see different social class have different beliefs and life,
which will have huge influences on their children’s behaviors and thinking. Children are more
likely to inherit their parents’ social class. Therefore, people compete with people from their own
social class and interact with people from the same class. Economic capital and cultural capital
are the limitations to lower classes because they don’t have much money compare to upper class
and their cultural capital is less valued due to social force. Lower classes do simple and repetitive
work at most time that limited their cultural capital. Therefore, social classes are not fully
determined by hard works.
Chapter 5 writes about the influences of globalization to people’s life and the economy.
Globalization seems good for the economy because it removes trade barriers and makes imports
and exports more convenient. However, many people lose their jobs because of globalization.
Moreover, under the unstable capitalism, the unemployment rate is rising quickly after the Great
Depression. People were forced to move to other countries or cities to find a temporary work and
the wages are poor. Many of them cannot stand for the pressure and committed crimes, which
caused chaos on the society. However, the rich and employers get benefits from oppressing the
workers. It is really a hard time for workers as globalization and capitalism are existing at the
same time.
Chapter 6 talks about the influences of mass media on violence, sex, and politics. Mass
media is a large part of people’s life nowadays, and people are somewhat controlled by it. It may
make young people be more aggressive and spread stereotypes among genders. However, mass
media can also be a tool for positive political resistance. It organizes people who want to pursue
equality and better lives together and creates a chance for people to make a change to the society.
Therefore, we can see that mass media is a powerful tool with both the negative and positive
sides.
Chapter 7 illustrates how individuals’ power lead to collective actions to call for a more
democratic society. The social movement should be on a good timing, and the resistance of
individuals is just a fuse. Like the case of Rosa Parks, her actions encouraged other black people
who desired equality and civil rights. Social movements let people realize democracy. People
from all over the world can be united by the similar interests they hold and fight against the
powerful riches and organizations. The social movement is so powerful to cause global solidarity
and gives individuals courage to fight for their own rights. It is an essential component to
promote the social development.
The Myth of Individualism is a further look and a deeper analyze of what we have
learned in the class. In this class, we focus on “society” and learned various components that
make up our complicate social structure nowadays. We went through some basic ideas of how
the society and culture are developed. As a introduction to sociology, The Myth of Individualism
puts individual, culture, and society in a larger scale to see how do them influence each other
using representative events and experiments. Individual and society cannot fall apart, and at the
same time, there are different cultures contains in the society. People are affected by their own
culture and their actions and thinking reflect the social reality and also compose the colorful
society. The myth of individualism is also the product of society and the unique culture
contained in the society. Different groups of individuals may believe different myths. This is a
common phenomenon, and there is nothing right or wrong. Therefore, we can see that various
individuals make up the society and create cultures and the society and cultures are influencing
how people will be.
Huixi Hu Section 14
The Myth of Individualism—Report
Begin with the story of Ted, the example of radical individualism is presented. He sees
himself as an individual who separates from the society and the technology and science is his
enemy. With selfishness and egoism, individualism becomes a negative phrase. The U.S. is a
country which individualism is an essential component in their culture. However, this also leads
to a “myth of individualism”. Most people think individual is opposite to the society, which in
fact, they are dependent on each other. This myth dominant the American culture nowadays. We
can also see individualism in capitalism. It emphasizes on self-interests and profit. Therefore,
there is often conflict between the interest of employer and employees. In this book, sociology
will be the buster of the myth of individualism. It promises the intellectual enlightenment, which
will lead people to the empirical reality rather than the individualism based on assumptions.
Chapter 2 mainly talked about the power of symbols and how symbols structure people’s
thinking. People use symbols to understand this world. Symbols have meanings, but these
meanings may be different considering different cultures. It is not good to use your thinking to
define others. Moreover, power matters in the creating of symbols. People or groups that have
greater powers are more likely to creating symbols to judge people who are weaker. Using the
example of witch trials and missing links, we can see how society determines who is a person but
not the person himself (herself). It is similar when we talk about people’s emotions. People tend
to show the emotions which the larger group or the society want them to show. Overall, symbols
are based on a social base and they are hard to change and eliminate because people need them to
distinguish each other.
Chapter 3 mainly talks about the relationship between authority and groups. A fake call
made people did unethical things to the woman employee in McDonald; people can give electric
shock to a stranger if someone ask them to do so; soldiers can kill someone if there is a
command. People can be good but also can be evil and they tend to obey the authorities even if
they are going to something bad. However, the students in the prison gave us a different answer,
which people tend to resist authorities if they are in a different social context. Plus, people
identify themselves according to the groups they are in, and groups based on different culture or
beliefs are likely to have conflicts and hard to merge and understand each other. Hassan found
himself uncomfortable under the American culture and the three groups in Iraq are independent
from each other and do not welcome “foreigners”. Nevertheless, people under similar culture
could reduce friction by complete common goals, just like the experiment of two groups of
summer camping boys.
Chapter 4 discusses about the relationship between family background and social class.
More and more Americans think that hard work will lead to a more successful life and a higher
social class. However, the reality is that the wealth gap is getting larger and larger. From the
example of Alexander and Tyrec, we can see different social class have different beliefs and life,
which will have huge influences on their children’s behaviors and thinking. Children are more
likely to inherit their parents’ social class. Therefore, people compete with people from their own
social class and interact with people from the same class. Economic capital and cultural capital
are the limitations to lower classes because they don’t have much money compare to upper class
and their cultural capital is less valued due to social force. Lower classes do simple and repetitive
work at most time that limited their cultural capital. Therefore, social classes are not fully
determined by hard works.
Chapter 5 writes about the influences of globalization to people’s life and the economy.
Globalization seems good for the economy because it removes trade barriers and makes imports
and exports more convenient. However, many people lose their jobs because of globalization.
Moreover, under the unstable capitalism, the unemployment rate is rising quickly after the Great
Depression. People were forced to move to other countries or cities to find a temporary work and
the wages are poor. Many of them cannot stand for the pressure and committed crimes, which
caused chaos on the society. However, the rich and employers get benefits from oppressing the
workers. It is really a hard time for workers as globalization and capitalism are existing at the
same time.
Chapter 6 talks about the influences of mass media on violence, sex, and politics. Mass
media is a large part of people’s life nowadays, and people are somewhat controlled by it. It may
make young people be more aggressive and spread stereotypes among genders. However, mass
media can also be a tool for positive political resistance. It organizes people who want to pursue
equality and better lives together and creates a chance for people to make a change to the society.
Therefore, we can see that mass media is a powerful tool with both the negative and positive
sides.
Chapter 7 illustrates how individuals’ power lead to collective actions to call for a more
democratic society. The social movement should be on a good timing, and the resistance of
individuals is just a fuse. Like the case of Rosa Parks, her actions encouraged other black people
who desired equality and civil rights. Social movements let people realize democracy. People
from all over the world can be united by the similar interests they hold and fight against the
powerful riches and organizations. The social movement is so powerful to cause global solidarity
and gives individuals courage to fight for their own rights. It is an essential component to
promote the social development.
The Myth of Individualism is a further look and a deeper analyze of what we have
learned in the class. In this class, we focus on “society” and learned various components that
make up our complicate social structure nowadays. We went through some basic ideas of how
the society and culture are developed. As a introduction to sociology, The Myth of Individualism
puts individual, culture, and society in a larger scale to see how do them influence each other
using representative events and experiments. Individual and society cannot fall apart, and at the
same time, there are different cultures contains in the society. People are affected by their own
culture and their actions and thinking reflect the social reality and also compose the colorful
society. The myth of individualism is also the product of society and the unique culture
contained in the society. Different groups of individuals may believe different myths. This is a
common phenomenon, and there is nothing right or wrong. Therefore, we can see that various
individuals make up the society and create cultures and the society and cultures are influencing
how people will be.

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