having had any formal studying towards psychology or sociology, it has been
extremely difficult to understand the various approaches and perspectives in
such a short time. However, I will
try extremely hard to explain the understanding I have achieved from the Applied Social Science
Applied Social Science module has enabled me to take a better look at my parents and the community
I belong to. These 2 factors have
played a major role in moulding me into the person I was and the inequalities I
faced within society. Since taking
up the youth and community development course, I have gained a great deal more
Applied Social Science module consisted of 2 main topics, these being psychology and sociology.
For myself to understand human beings, I needed to understand what both
the above words meant.
all I realised that ’Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and
behaviour‘. (Benson and Grove,1998:5) ’Where it seeks to understand
how organisms’, such as humans ’think, learn, perceive and feel’.
(Lain, Handout:00) Unlike other
sciences, psychology does not have any one particular theory or explanation.
However it does have 6 main perspectives, which are psychodynamic or
psychoanalytical, biological, behaviourism, cognitive, humanistic and
socio-cultural. I will try and
illustrate within this discussion, using the biological and socio-cultural
perspective. The socio-cultural
perspective being where:
are so familiar with their own upbringing and way of life that they often forget
just how different it can be-not
in other countries but even next door!‘.
then links into sociology whereby: ‘Sociology is about the study of large
groups of people in societies‘.(Benson and Grove, 1998:5) Therefore
sociology is a ’set of disciplines that examines the nature of human
behaviour and of human association‘.( Goodman,1992:1)
The understanding I have achieved from this module is that, behaviour is
learnt from the society we live amongst.
’the culture of society is the way of life of its members‘ with ’ideas
and habits‘ ’transmitted from generation to generation‘. (Haralambos
me give you a brief background to who I am, firstly I am an Asian woman who was
born in India, and came to Britain during the mid 1960’s together with my
parents. Being a Hindu and having the surname Patel, I belong to a
group of people that originate from the Gujarat state in India.
More specifically from the area around Surat.
are a number of Patel’s who belong within this community and have now come to
settle in Britain. They have formed
a community here, called the Mandata samaj-samaj meaning community in Gujarati.
This is the group that I mentioned earlier, to which I belong to.
I have mentioned this community because I feel that some of the
inequalities I have faced in life is because this community insists on following
a culture they followed in India. Therefore
this group is formed in order for members who share a similar religion and
culture to get together and keep their traditional values alive.
In order for the younger generation to understand and recognise where
they come from. I feel that they
don’t take into account the of culture of their new surroundings, which causes
great distress to the young people who have 2 cultures to deal with.
samaj then will only allow people who come from the Surat area this is an
example of how: ’Hindu society in traditional India was divided in’
’castes‘, (Haralambos and Holborn,1995:22) and still is to some extent
today. Therefore, this division is to some degree recognised as ’social
stratification’, which is a ’form of social inequality‘. (Haralambos
and Holborn, 1995:22) Whereby resulting to people treating others from different
caste’s less favourably by not allowing them to enter their community group.
If I were to enter another Hindu group, I would have to marry someone
from that group. This to me is
discrimination and unequal treatment of individuals, because of who they are.
Within the Hindu society each caste have set up their own community group
and within each group there are inequalities.
inequalities that are faced by myself and other members are due to ’biological
differences‘. (Haralambos and Holborn, 1995:23) These biological
differences mainly refer to your gender. This
in psychology is known as the biological perspective, which believes that our
biological make up affects the way in which we think. (Lain, Handout:00) However
this approach attempts to understand the prejudices and therefore oppressions,
one set of humans perpetrate on others. (Hayes, 1994)
culture and values held within the community I belong to, and other Indian
communities, believes in the patriarch whereby the father or man is ’the
highest dignitary‘, (Collins,1959:358) ’culture determining
how members of society think and feel‘ and ’value is a belief that
something is good and desirable‘. (Haralambos and Holborn, 1995:3) Whereby
women and children are suppose to obey and follow the rules set out by man.
In terms of a sociological perspective culture, values and norms within a
’society is the way of life of its members‘. (Haralambos and Holborn,
1995:3) Therefore, this way of life is what causes inequalities, because if
anyone goes against this way of life, then they are looked down upon by others
within the community. Therefore to
continually be accepted by other community members, I have found that the
oppressed usually follow what is expected of them.
This inequality then doesn’t allow an individual to express and fully
be appreciated for their potential.
then explains when ever I have been treated unfairly in society, I found it
extremely difficult to challenge, simply because being oppressed became a way of
life, that I didn’t notice.
to some degree I feel that culture and values held by certain members of my
community will soon fade. This is
because I can see the new values, even new culture, which has been picked up
from the multi-cultural British society, we all live amongst.
The new generation growing up in this country are more concerned about
themselves and not their community. This
provides evidence of the break up of extended families, because many young
people today prefer to be left alone to live their lives, a way of life picked
up from the British society.
functionalist perspective viewed by sociologist Emile Durkheim, believed that
every person in society has a role and function to carry out, similarly to the
caste system in traditional India. Although
I do believe that each person does have a role to carry out in society.
I also believe that every human being has a potential to reach for
something higher in life, which would not be acceptable in a functionalist
my understanding of the humanistic perspective, this module has helped me amend
a misunderstanding I previously harboured.
There would be times when I would give up on a young person, and think
that they are beyond help. Simply
because the approach I was using to engage with them wasn’t effective.
humanistic perspective, mostly associated with Maslow and Rogers who both
focused on the individuals needs and ’emphasises an innate drive towards
achieving ones potential‘.(Benson and Grove,1998:112) Highlighting that
each person has the potential to reach a goal they have set for themselves.
This is achieved by simply offering a gentle, caring and loving approach.
And bringing out their good inherent qualities.
Previously I was conditioned to believe that the culture, values and norms we
follow, must be adhered to. This
was because the traditions can then be passed down to the next generation, who
then can pass it on to the next. It
is due to this way of life, that causes inequalities.
Mainly because there will be individuals wanting to follow them and many
that don’t. However I do still
believe that our culture, values and norms are important, but I feel it is the
choice of the society to adapt and change them according to their needs.
With a possible egalitarian society ’a society in which all members
now understand why, although I must stress that I don’t agree with it.
The reason why certain people behave the way they do.
The oppression and discrimination these people apply to others of a
different race, religion and culture is a way of life that has been passed down
to them. During the late 19th
century, a few psychologists believed Black people were inferior to white
people. In the levels of hierarchy
people who were poor, and black ’were deserving of early death‘. (Lain,
Handout:00) Therefore this form of information has been passed down from
generation to generation, and adapted to oppress and give certain people the
right to treat others unfairly. An
example being people from a different race and people with disabilities, who are
constantly treated unfairly in employment and other facilities.
my practice I have become more aware of the people I interact with.
I spend a great deal of time and make the effort to study the background
of the people I will be working with. I
not only find this very educating but extremely necessary to recognise a
person’s religion, their culture and the inequalities and oppressions that
they may be faced with.
present I work within a centre that provides facilities for a multi-cultural
society. There is a wide range of
people who use the centre, which includes Indian, African and Caribbean
communities. I feel quite
comfortable interacting with these particular communities, because I have grown
up with them. I know their
background and the difficulties faced by them, which helps when communicating
in recent months there have been a number of Somalian families moving into the
area. Although I have worked with
and lived amongst African and many Muslim communities for a number of years. I
still felt that I needed to do some background research into the Somalian
community before I approached them to assess their needs.
As I have no links with any Somalian community members in Leicester.
I approached other Somalian community leaders with who I made links in
Liverpool, during a visit there with the centre I work with. I tried to find out about their religion, and what it meant
to them. Especially the culture
they follow and their way of life. From
this I tried to understand how they think, and how they view their new
environment. In particular I wanted
to find out about the discrimination they were receiving from other communities
and the so-called institutions, such as the social security office and other
facilities. One of the problems I
noticed was that many families were being located in areas where there were no
mosques. For Muslims it is
essential that they attend mosques daily. I
was made aware that the women in this community are faced with many
inequalities. An example being the
wives and children in a Somalian household are expected to do what their husband
or father requires them to do, whether they agree or not.
However this is not an issue with them because it is social conditioning
and a way of life.
I had this information I was then comfortable to approach certain members within
the Somalian community. I am now at
a stage where if I meet members of the Somalian community on the streets, they
would stand and talk to me. The
next stage would be to invite them into the community centre, in order to
familiarise them with the facilities, so that they are then comfortable in using
Jaiwanda Patel & Student Youth Work Online 2001