Sociological Theory: Present-Day Sociology from the Past

By Edgar F. Borgatta; Henry J. Meyer | Go to book overview

a family member lost his "honor," the standing of the whole family was lowered.

Individualism, on the other hand, means the personal schematization of life,--making one's own definitions of the situation and determining one's own behavior norms. Actually there never has been and never will be anything like complete individualization, because no one lives or can live without regard to a public. Anything else would be insanity. But in their occupational pursuits men have already a degree of individualization, decide things alone and in their own way. They take risks, schematize their enterprises, succeed or fail, rise higher and fall lower. A large element of individualism has entered into the marriage relation also. Married women are now entering the occupations freely and from choice, and carrying on amateur interests which formerly were not thought of as going with marriage. And this is evidently a good thing, and stabilizes marriage. Marriage alone is not a life, particularly since the decline of the community type of organization.


CONTROL AND ATTENTION

B Y WILLIAM I. THOMAS

THERE is a useful concept into which all activity can be translated, or to which it can at least be related, namely, control. Control is not a social force, but is the object, realized or unrealized, of all purposive activity. Food and reproduction are the two primal necessities, if the race is to exist. The whole design of nature with reference to organic life is to nourish the individual and provide a new generation before the death of the old, and the most elementary statement, as I take it, which can be made of individual and of social activity is that it is designed to secure that control of the environment which will assure these two results. I will illustrate my meaning by applying the concept of control to some of the steps in organic and social development.

The animal differs from the plant primarily in its superior control

____________________
Abridged from: Thomas William I., Source Book for Social Origins, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1909.

Reprinted by permission of the Social Science Research Council. In connection with the writings of W. I. Thomas, see: Thomas W. I., Social Behavior and Personality, Contributions of W. I. Thomas to Theory and Social Research, Edited by Edmund H. Volkart , New York: Social Science Research Council, 1951.

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