The Sociology of Avatar

January 15, 2010

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser

Email: chad.gesser@kctcs.edu

I’m not a movie connoisseur or reviewer by ANY stretch of the imagination. Seriously, you would likely bow your head, shaking it in shame if you knew the movies I had NOT seen.

Ok, so I got that off my chest.  Now, let’s turn our attention to a little movie that came out late December of 2009 called “Avatar”.  Without question the most significant aspect of Avatar was/is how the movie was made.  Groundbreaking technology was used in filming the movie, not to mention the movie came out in both 3D and normal movie viewing mode.  While numbers of movie goers having seen Avatar is hard to come by, the dollar figures aren’t.  At the time of this blog post, Avatar has made well over $1 billion, making it the fastest movie ever to reach that amount in box office sales.

There are those movies that I went into expecting a ton, and was quite disappointed.  I didn’t even want to see Avatar, so I went to say I indeed had seen it.

Needless to say, it was definitely a “wow” experience.  The visual effects were stunning.  But what I did not expect going into the movie, and what still captivates my memory of the event that is Avatar, was/is the clear examples of Sociology.

My first reactions after seeing Avatar can be found in a series of tweets I made on Twitter:

There have been a wide range of reactions to Avatar, and the Sociology of the movie.  Josh McCabe at The Sociological Imagination weighed in.  A widely distributed post by Annalee Newitz at the blog io9 highlights the racist overtones of the movie, comparing it to Dancing With Wolves, Distict 9, and others.  Twitter friend of mine “SocProf” had a similar reaction,  found here.

Regardless of one’s positive or negative viewpoints of the movie, no one can argue the Sociological metaphors found throughout the movie.  Did you notice the difference in cultural beliefs of the people of Pandora pitted against the humans from Earth?  What about the role of religion on Pandora compared to the traditional practices of religion we have come to know on Earth?


  1. Awesome Interpretation of My Favorite Fantasy Movie. Thank You. Will Tweet this!
    Peace 4ever!

  2. Is there anyway you could email me your tweets because I do not have a twitter account and really am interested in your sociological perspective.

  3. “”* that seems to be a great topic, i really love it ~””

  4. Excellent post!! I really like your site!!

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