The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces Of A Conversation By Michael Schwalbe Analysis

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The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of a Conversation by Michael Schwalbe reviews what is meant by the sociological perspective or, as he calls it, being “sociologically mindful.” Explaining that the sociological perspective involves paying attention to social life and looking at the world from multiple points of view in order to appreciate the uniqueness of others and to ensure that everyone has access to the “good life,” Schwalbe opens by stating “If you would like a written portrait of the discipline of sociology, you can find one in many places—but not here” (2). What one does find here within these pages, however, is a guide to becoming more aware of one’s surroundings and a way of becoming more connected to the people near and far. …show more content…
This implies there will always be a power struggle between groups, even those of the most cooperative and sociologically mindful individuals behaving as part of a collective. Being mindful allows one to see how information is linked to power and the extent to which that power can make things happen based upon the resources at hand to devise as accurate and complete a view of the world as possible. This will help us “be less susceptible to the illusions that are supposed to keep us polite and calm while horrors go on all around us,” Schwalbe explains (98). By observing the patterns of social life, we can also see how those in power use what is most meaningful to people to keep them compliant with the status quo and more readily opposed to the common enemy of their in-group. This includes shaping public opinion about the meaning of appearances and how those meanings determine the ways in which we interact with others. Schwalbe particularly wanted us to consider the collective over the individualistic, though, stating “We can 't really know what all our potentials are; we can only know, late in life, which ones have been realized. What we can know, or at least be mindful of, is how social life turns us into certain kinds of people” (64). Society acts in several ways to contain our choices and restrain our

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