Why culture and socialization cannot be reduced to an issue of shared values and how “hegemony” and “counter hegemony” cast a deeper light on the nature of social identities
Socialization refers to the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies. Personality views on certain issues, such as masculinity and violence as in the movie tough guise, may be socialized and to that point normalized within a society. Culture in definition is a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that portrays a society. It consists of the beliefs, behaviours and other characteristics common to the members of a particular society. Through culture, people get a sense of identity, by conforming to societies’ shared values. Shared values can be portrayed as the explicit or implicit fundamental beliefs and codes that administer the background of a society. These values play a significant function of guiding the verdicts and exploits of the people within the organization. It is easier to accomplish the purposes of an organization if its members adhere to shared values that would govern their behaviour toward the attainment of their goals.
Merely from the above definition, culture and socialization cannot be reduced to an issue of shared values in society. Socialization in itself is a process which may or may not lead to desirable, or ‘moral’, outcomes. Individual views on certain issues may be socialized and to that extent normalized within a society. So to include this as an issue of shared value is not applicable. This also applies to culture, which is set of beliefs or shared attitudes within a certain community. To further deliberate on this issue, it is imperative to look at the theme behind the movie “Tough Guise”.
This video examines the relationship between images in popular culture and the social construction of male identities in the United States. In this movie, the Media is crucial to constraining men to seeing violent masculinity as the cultural norm. Thus there is a growing link in society between being a man and being violent. This is not an issue of shared value but an issue in which socialization has brought about a culture of violence in relation to men. In addition from the reading of the Veil, It is evident that culture does not necessarily conform to the issues of shared values. From the definition, a Shared value could is the explicit or implicit basic belief and principle that govern the background of group or an organization of a people. These two ideologies are more than that of an issue as a shared value. From the reading, it is obvious to many that, the wearing of veil is a cultural phenomenon intended to maintain the honour of the women, but an insight look at the underlying issue it is revealed that this is just a way for men to express their status, power and manliness in the society. It also preserves men’s virility and masculinity image (Fernea & Fernea 193).This signifies also the roles and status of gender, especially, feministic, in a society which is beyond the issue of shared values.
Hegemony is the philosophic and sociological notion that a culturally-varied society can be controlled by one of its social classes. The conjecture maintains that the ideas of the dominating class usually come to be seen as the norm as universal philosophies, professed to benefit everyone while only in fact benefiting the dominant class. Counter-hegemony is the effort to critique or dismantle hegemonic authority. It has been described as a formation of an unusual hegemony on the territory of civil society in preparation for change.
Examples of hegemony are many, particularly via the media in forms of television shows. As seen on Tough Guise, the America’s notion of masculinity is dominantly portrayed as related to violence. The movie shows how the anti-social behaviours, including the rise of hegemonic masculinity and violence in young and teenage boys is common. Taking an example from the reading on the Veil, the hegemonic situation presented by culture and socialization in the Middle East provides an identity to the women still wearing veil. Thus the veil gives these women an identity of honour and respect within the society.
As defined hegemony involves dominance of a certain click in the social order and the norms they present as seen as the norm, therefore it is not surprising that the issue of masculinity especially tied down to violence is particularly seen as a norm. The movie on tough guise portrays a man as a strong, violent and thus if a person is devoid of this qualities, yet is biologically a man, is seen as not being a man. So the concept of hegemony can dictate character thereof providing an identity. This theory can also be seconded by the dominance of Islam or and men in the society as portrayed in the reading on the veil. Though, it is a form of inequality, the wearing of the veil provides an identity to its members, both female and male, with male dominating the women. This in turn provides a situation where the women conform to it and thus become submissive to the men. This therefore gives the women an identity of which they are supposed to submit to the men.
Conversely, as an example, the May fourth revolution of China in the 1930s portrays a form of resistance to the social dominance in respect to the traditions of china. This resistance can be referred to as counter hegemony. This deviation from the dominant norm which is usually oppressive to the majority and beneficial to the dominant class is also an account to a sense of identity. Wearing the veil is a cultural belief that has been ongoing for centuries, but due to the cotemporary scenarios in the world today, the norm is being resisted. Of notice should be that the veil does not only mean the cloth but the ideologies behind it. With these new implications, the Middle Eastern woman has started to discover a whole new Identity within the society.
Fernea, E., and Fernea, R. “A Look Behind the Veil,” Ch 10 in Massey
Giddens, A; Dunier, M. & Appelbaum, R., Essentials of Sociology London & New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 3rd Edition, 2010