Posts Tagged ‘obama’

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Does Context Affect How We Understand Our World?

August 2, 2009

I’ve posted two different excerpts from an ABC News special in which President Obama answers a woman’s question about her 99-year-old mother receiving a pacemaker. The woman’s mother is now 105. With the ongoing debate on nationalizing health care, President Obama’s “take a pain pill instead” remark has widely been reported. Regardless of your stance on the specific issue of health care, I want you to see how context can affect understanding. If you like, watch both of these popular edited excerpts from YouTube and respond to one of the discussion topics below:

Excerpt 1:

Excerpt 2:

So what do you think?….

1. Was your understanding of the President’s responses different in each video? How did context affect your understanding of the President’s responses?

2. Can you generalize how the context of information affects how we respond to this information within our social environment? Do we assign different meanings to different words or behaviors? Do different values and norms mean we ignore some information and prioritize other?

3. Do these videos illustrate the impact media may have upon members of society? How?

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Obama’s Victory: Real Culture or Ideal Culture?

November 26, 2008

obama

Posted by Wes Abercrombie

Real culture refers to how social institutions actually function, for better or for worse. Ideal culture refers to how social institutions are meant to function and the resulting idyllic lifestyles. Some sociologists argue that ideal culture identifies the social goals we strive for and real culture indicates our actual situation.

Many social scientists are interpreting the election of Senator Obama as an “historical event”—that Senator Barack Obama’s election identifies a shift in social conscious. Specifically, it demonstrates that race isn’t as important as individual character in our society. Some sociologists might interpret this as a narrowing between ideal and real culture. Other sociologists could argue this realization is passé, sighting the public careers of Edward William Brooke, Harold Washington, Hazel Reid O’Leary, Douglas Wilder, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Ron Brown, or Alan Keyes.

What do you think? Does the election of Senator Obama as President of the United States indicate a new shift in race relations or a social trend that has been building for some time?

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