STUDY QUESTIONS FOR SOC 100
First Exam: Thursday
March 11, 7-8:30pm
in 110 Asbury
An important goal of sociology is to uncover the logic of a culture. Examine preschool
teachers, crime control, and the endings given to fairy tales in the U.S. and Japan.
revealed about the logic and values of Japanese culture compared to American?
specific examples of practices that reinforce these cultural values.
What functions are served by
the particular ways that teachers and police act in Japan that are not served by their American
(“Socialization in Three Cultures,” class lectures, and “American Exception:
Inmate Count in the U.S.”)
When comparing the Japanese culture to American and Chinese, there is a difference in which
the way people obtain social control. In the U.S. and China, control is obtained through
authority. The group is submissive to a superior. These nations show vertical control, whereas
Japan demonstrates a sort of horizontal control. This means that Japanese children are taught
from a very young age to keep one another in line, the group members must control the fellow
group members. A gifted child in the U.S. or China would make themselves distinct from the
group, whereas in Japanese culture, to break away from the group is thought of as a lack of
understanding of ones peers. This was seen in the article we read about an unruly child in a
Japanese preschool. Instead of the teacher yelling at this boy, the other children were forced to
deal with their classmate, eventually getting so annoyed with him that they began to ignore him.
He eventually fell back into the group after seeing the negative social implications of acting out.
Japanese children are taught responsibility at a young age by doing cafeteria clean up, and
washing their school bathrooms. They are shown that they must take care of each other and their
community. The ending of Goldylocks and the three bears was changed in Japan. In the end, she
asks the three bears for forgiveness, and they accept. This accentuates the idea of forgiveness in
their society. Police in Japan, will let you off from a ticket, will, “Let the warm blood flow.”
They show compassion in hard time.
2. Discuss the social processes whereby the unthinkable becomes possible and even normalized
in being a hit man, shocking another person at high voltage levels, and killing by soldiers). What
factors besides the individual's moral restraint (or lack thereof) come into play? How is a
favorable sense of self maintained in these cases? (“Becoming a Hit Man, “Anybody’s Son Will
Do” and the video “Obedience”)
It is hard to think of a hit man finding any sort of justification for what they do, but they do have
the ability to normalize their immoral occupation. Sociologists have found that as humans we
have a tremendous flexibility in the meaning of what is normal. People who deviate from societal
norms attempt to normalize their actions by a process of neutralizing the deviant action. Hit men,