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Mad Queen
09-07-2008, 07:06 AM
Which philosophers, psychologists or sociologists have argued that social acceptance is the most important aspect of one's life or the measure of one's success?

Samantha's_Song
09-07-2008, 06:10 PM
When you are young, social acceptance is important to you; but once you've reached your thirties, you realise that it doesn't matter one iota. So long as you like yourself as a person, besides your family and close friends, who cares what anyone else thinks. People don't live up to your/our expectations, so why should you/we/me be expected to live up to theirs.


Samantha

Tornadoboy
09-07-2008, 07:30 PM
I don't know who first said it, but this qoute comes to mind:

"The teenage years are nothing but a 365 day a year, 24 hour a day struggle not to be embarrassed"

kuwisdelu
09-07-2008, 07:58 PM
Mmm, I guess it matters to some teens. Personally, I didn't really care about socializing or social acceptance. But then, psychologists probably say different things about kids with autistic spectrum disorders...

Mad Queen
09-07-2008, 08:34 PM
I'm not really interested if this is true or not. My protagonist is trying to convince his friend this is true and his friend would certainly know if a psychologist or sociologist had already made a similar argument, because he is a psychologist himself. I've read some Wikipedia articles but I haven't found any arguments that are similar to my protagonist's. It's basically: If you want to be a winner, don't be different. Don't go against the majority. Respect the status quo.

I would post the relevant dialogue here if it weren't a first draft.

wyoming_dreams
09-07-2008, 09:02 PM
I googled importance social acceptance and got this study

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/esteem.htm

the researchers names didn't mean anything to me, but maybe they're well-known in their field.

Mad Queen
09-07-2008, 09:11 PM
Thanks a lot! I don't think my character would quote this study, although he might have known about it, but I'll search for the original article, because it might have useful references.

I couldn't find the original article. :(

RJK
09-07-2008, 09:16 PM
Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs)is another good source of understanding of psycological growth. Social acceptance is right up there self asteem, confidence and achievement.

Mad Queen
09-07-2008, 09:46 PM
Thanks. This is an author my characters would quote if he had a more radical vision of social acceptance as the only thing that matters, besides being alive.

jclarkdawe
09-08-2008, 01:46 AM
I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, but you might want to look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs). Commonly discussed in beginning psychology classes.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Mad Queen
09-08-2008, 02:22 AM
I want to know if any famous psychologist, sociologist or philosopher has said that you can only be successful if you are accepted by other people, that this is the only criterium for success. If you are different, you'll be shunned by society, so you have to learn how to get along with other people, respect the status quo, don't fight against the majority.

ink wench
09-08-2008, 05:11 PM
Ex social psychologist chiming in: I've never heard of a theory that purports that. Of course, that doesn't mean one doesn't exist. Just that there wasn't one BIG enough to ever get mentioned in my courses. For someone espousing a theory like that, you probably need to read up on Eastern psychology/psychologists, or philosophers. Western (U.S. and Europe) psych has been highly influenced by our belief in the importance of individualism and standing out in a crowd.

Sassee
09-08-2008, 05:45 PM
I'm not sure how much this relates, but I just started taking an Ethics class and we discussed different moral stances. Forgive me, I don't have my book in front of me and I'm pulling it straight from memory, but I think Aristotle said something to the effect of it isn't you that determines if you are a morally good person, it's your peers.

Again, I'm not entirely sure about that one since I don't have my notes or my book in front of me, but I can double check it later when I get home from work. Does that help any or were you looking for something different?

Mad Queen
09-08-2008, 06:34 PM
Ex social psychologist chiming in: I've never heard of a theory that purports that. Of course, that doesn't mean one doesn't exist. Just that there wasn't one BIG enough to ever get mentioned in my courses.
Thanks, that's what I wanted to know. In my WIP, there is a conversation between two psychologists in which one is going to persuade the other to stop trying to stand out and being different, instead concentrating on being a part of the team and fitting in with his colleagues, because that's how he's going to achieve success. It's unlikely my characters know Eastern philosophy well enough to discuss in ordinary conversation, so I'll present this idea as being a more or less original thought from my grandmother's protagonist. But if it were a common theory in Western philosophy, my characters would certainly quote it in this conversation.

Forgive me, I don't have my book in front of me and I'm pulling it straight from memory, but I think Aristotle said something to the effect of it isn't you that determines if you are a morally good person, it's your peers.
I was looking for a philosopher who had as one of his most famous arguments that social acceptance is what really matters in one's life. I think it's unlikely that my characters would quote one of Aristotle's observations, unless he became famous for it.

emelle
09-19-2008, 12:36 AM
Emile Durkheim - often regarded as a founding father of sociology - wrote reams on social solidarity. He also discussed the moral communities that grow up around professions which regulate the behaviour of those who are part of them - these are 'good' in the Durkheimian ethical framework. A psychologist - any social scientist - would be familiar with Durkheim's work and theses, which had fairly massive impact on the 21st century until Lyotard midwifed the idea of postmodernism (birthday some time in 1957, apparently). Durkheim is now coming back into fashion.

To bowdlerize in beastly fashion: Durkheim asserted that 'natural' man is unrestricted and dangerous while 'true' man is one in which the social dominates the natural. According to our Dee, individuals are imprinted with the ‘collective conscience’ - i.e. social facts and more particularly moral rules become internalized in the consciousness of the individual while continuing to exist independently. “However, constraint is not a simple imposition of outside controls on individual will - though it is certainly this as well - but rather is a moral obligation to obey rules”. Durkheim coined the term '“collective conscience'” to refer to the systematic acceptance of sets of norms, values, morals, rules and behaviours that are held as sacred and binding by the members of a group or society. Our Dee's picking up in the popularity stakes as the partial result of the work of, for eg. Thomas Putman (Bowling Alone) and his ilk & the concept of 'social capital' which is all about 'bowling in leages' (metaphor, natch) - on the decline, apparently. And a good thing too. IMO.

Mad Queen
09-19-2008, 12:40 AM
Thanks, I'm going to study Durkheim. Actually, I'm going to study psychology and sociology in general as soon as I can $get$ the necessary material.

dirtsider
09-19-2008, 12:56 AM
There are DVD's out on Joseph Campbell and his views on Myths and Mythology. He does a lot of comparison on Eastern vs. Western mythology but he also touches on how mythology touches on psychology, such as how it influenced Jung, etc. I just remembered this because of his take on the differences in culture and how that reflects on the "local" myths and the reverse.

Might be an interesting lead for you?

Mad Queen
09-19-2008, 01:34 AM
There are DVD's out on Joseph Campbell and his views on Myths and Mythology. [...] Might be an interesting lead for you?
It doesn't seem directly related to what I want to know and I already have a lot of research to do. But thanks for trying to help me. I appreciate it.

I've just read this:

To bowdlerize in beastly fashion: Durkheim asserted that 'natural' man is unrestricted and dangerous while 'true' man is one in which the social dominates the natural.
This is related to my character's ideas, as is Thomas Hobbes's view that humans are inherently evil and have to be controlled by the government. But my character doesn't believe natural is bad and social is good. His is a practical approach, a strategy more than a theory. Here are some of things he tells his psychologist friend:

Success is social acceptance. (The premise.)

This is not a theory as much as it is a strategy. You should do whatever you need to get along with other people.

As a general rule, respect the status quo and avoid being different.

Thinking outside the box is a dangerous advice. There are boxes within boxes. If you think outside the innermost box, you are creative. Go any further and you are an eccentric, someone who causes a certain discomfort. Break out of all boxes and you are a sociopath.

You will only get what you need if you give others what they need. [...] Which seller will get rich: the one who sells his favourite products or the one who sells the products other people want to buy?

There’s no way a man can succeed on his own efforts. Society, not the individual, decides who succeeds and who fails. No matter how good you are at something, the odds are there’s someone better than you. But even if you are the best, billions of people together will always be stronger than you. You can’t win against the majority. You can either convince the majority to join you, which is hard, or join the majority, which is a lot easier and the appropriate decision almost every time.
My characters discuss the example of Jesus Christ. The friend says Jesus Christ was one of the most influential figures in history even though he defied the powerful people of his time. My MC replies: ‘That’s why he was nailed to a cross. Do you want to be nailed to a cross?’

The purpose of this conversation is to convince the friend to stop antagonising his bosses and become a part of the team. It's not a theoretical discussion, but they would certainly remember Western sociologists and philosophers who wrote about similar things.

Smiling Ted
09-19-2008, 01:54 AM
It doesn't seem directly related to what I want to know and I already have a lot of research to do. But thanks for trying to help me. I appreciate it.

I've just read this:

This is related to my character's ideas, as is Thomas Hobbes's view that humans are inherently evil and have to be controlled by the government. But my character doesn't believe natural is bad and social is good. His is a practical approach, a strategy more than a theory. Here are some of things he tells his psychologist friend:

My characters discuss the example of Jesus Christ. The friend says Jesus Christ was one of the most influential figures in history even though he defied the powerful people of his time. My MC replies: ‘That’s why he was nailed to a cross. Do you want to be nailed to a cross?’

The purpose of this conversation is to convince the friend to stop antagonising his bosses and become a part of the team. It's not a theoretical discussion, but they would certainly remember Western sociologists and philosophers who wrote about similar things.

You might want to look at Communist philosophers, especially the Bolsheviks. They were famous...or infamous...in emphasizing the collective over the individual.

Of course, they're so thoroughly discredited that quoting a well-known Communist would automatically put your guy in the wrong....

Mad Queen
09-19-2008, 01:57 AM
I don't care, my guy is a villain anyway. But wouldn't Communism be too utopian for him, who only wants to get results?

Smiling Ted
09-19-2008, 03:16 AM
I don't care, my guy is a villain anyway. But wouldn't Communism be too utopian for him, who only wants to get results?

Well, you pick the quotes you like, and leave the rest.

katiemac
09-19-2008, 06:14 AM
Check out the Pygmalion effect, which is similar to Robert Merton's self-fulfilling prophecy theory. I wouldn't rely on Wikipedia for this one, the description focuses on the original theory's conception and not its wider applications.

Durkheim is good, he's a good study of deviant behavior and what keeps people confined to social constructions of right and wrong.

I think your best bet might be Erving Goffman, a sociologist who wrote "Presentation of Self in Every Day Life." Not just how or why people act differently in different situations, but why they must, etc. He in turn was influenced by George Herbert Mead.

I'd also see if any of Margaret Mead's anthropological studies match what you're looking for.

Mad Queen
09-19-2008, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the tips. What I already know about the Pygmalion effect doesn't seem related to my character's idea, but even though the information on Erving Goffman on the Wikipedia is paltry, I liked what I read. I'll borrow The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life from the library.

Dawnstorm
09-19-2008, 11:06 AM
Hi,

Definitely Durkheim. Try his term "anomie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie)". His major work, Le Suicide, he puts forth that the suicide rate is influenced by two variables:

a) integration of the individual into society

and

b) regulation of the individual by society.

Extremes tend to favour suicide:

Integration:

- Too much: Altruistic suicide (kamikaze bombers, killing yourself so that your family can profit from your life insurance...)

- Too little: Egoistic suicide (your life is "empty", if your goals don't match with the goals of those around you; you can't do what you want)

Regulation:

- Too little: Anomic suicide (every decision becomes a chore; you don't know how to go on)

- Too much: Fatalistic suicide (here's the kicker: he only mentions that type because of logical necessity, and then only in a footnote. He claims examples are hard to find. - Later sociologists have then gone and looked into that type [slums etc.])

He's also done work on education (stressing "positive authority" - a kind of authority that comes from "leading by example"), and religion (people really worship the community). Durkheim was a major influence on both structuralism and - perhaps more important for you - systemic functionalism (you might check out Talcott Parsons and Robert K Merton, though they're not very much concerned with individual action).

***

Erving Goffman is more outlining how people deal with social expectations. His philosophy is hard to make out and experts disagree. His focus is on coping mechanisms.

Presentation of self is a good one, talking about the roleplaying aspects of society. He points out a phenomenon, that's probably of interest to you:

There are core role expectations, e.g. all the things a doctor is supposed to do. But there are also expectations on how to play the role. A key element is "role distance". If you don't display this, people are likely to call you "over-adapted" (I don't remember the proper term). You don't want to be reduced to your position; but neither do your colleagues want to reduce you to your position. So there's some sort of pressure to show yourself beneath the role (you don't have to be honest, but you have to show that there's more to you than just the role).

This can easily be twisted into an argument that apparant "individualism" is really an attempt to fit in (your character's "box within the box" argument could profit from Goffman's concept of "role distance"). [Also check out "Stigma", Goffman's book on how to deal with being obviously different.]

The problem, though, is that Goffman himself was somewhat of an enfant terrible in sociology/social psychology, who did his own thing. He's a very amusing read if you like wry humour with the tendency to get dark at times. Interviewers called him hard to interview; he'd turn the questions around and they'd feel like they're part of his current project. I suspect that Goffman would neither support nor counter your character's opinion, as his real interest was with coping mechanisms.

***

Marxist philosophy runs you into problems with the "being successful" part of the arguments, IMO. If you have a boss, you're being exploited. That's not really what you want to get to get across, I think.

***

You might also want to take a look at Arnold Gehlen, whose idea of man as a "deficient creature" ("Mängelwesen"; I don't know how they translated this) has been influential in pedagogy. Man is deficient (no fur, laughable claws and teeth...) and compensates with society. This idea has been very influential in education, in the sense that education "completes" the person. I'm not too familiar with Gehlen myself, though. It just came to mind.

MelancholyMan
09-19-2008, 05:38 PM
Which philosophers, psychologists or sociologists have argued that social acceptance is the most important aspect of one's life or the measure of one's success?

Not Jesus.

emelle
09-19-2008, 06:07 PM
Just incidentally - and to simplify the whole issue: As an academic myself, and spending a lot of my time hanging out in academic corridors shooting the breeze with those similarly qualified, I can honestly say that the likelihood of any of us quoting a scholar to make a non-scholarly-related point is nil. "Hey Joe, you will only get what you need if you give others what they need. As Durkheim/Goffman/Buddha says, society, not the individual, decides who succeeds and who fails." Oh hahaha.

Only a REAL nerd...

My feeling is that it's better if YOU know that a lot of people have written stuff on the subject that your characters are probably familiar with - and let them shape their own argument. It would probably have more clout if the voice of reason says that the Bosses sack deviants ... but that's just my opinion.

Shadow_Ferret
09-19-2008, 06:12 PM
Mmm, I guess it matters to some teens. Personally, I didn't really care about socializing or social acceptance. But then, psychologists probably say different things about kids with autistic spectrum disorders...
Ditto (without the autistic thingie). Books were my friends. I viewed High School as a temporary thing. I was there because it was the law. It was a temporary forced sentence and I knew I'd soon be gone. I wasn't there to make friends.

Mad Queen
09-20-2008, 01:10 AM
Definitely Durkheim. Try his term "anomie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie)".
Anomie is definitely relevant, thanks.

I suspect that Goffman would neither support nor counter your character's opinion, as his real interest was with coping mechanisms.
Everything you wrote about Goffman only made me more eager to read his work, especially Stigma. I think my MC's friend isn't coping as well as he should and both my MC and his friend have to deal with being different. My MC's strategy is lying, while his friend tells the truth and suffers for it.

Your post was very helpful, thanks.

Just incidentally - and to simplify the whole issue: As an academic myself, and spending a lot of my time hanging out in academic corridors shooting the breeze with those similarly qualified, I can honestly say that the likelihood of any of us quoting a scholar to make a non-scholarly-related point is nil.
I can't remember if my colleagues and I quote scholars when we are advising each other, but we quote them in jokes and normal conversation. I guess we are REAL nerds. :( But depending on what you study, for instance, particle physics, you won't have a lot of opportunities to quote scholars in your field, unless you have analogy between people and electrons or something like that.

My MC and his friend met in college when they were studying psychology and they talk a lot about it. The conversation I mentioned is totally pragmatic, but if my MC's ideas are exactly what a certain philosopher proposed, his friend would recognize them. I can't see how he couldn't.

Dawnstorm
09-20-2008, 08:53 AM
Everything you wrote about Goffman only made me more eager to read his work, especially Stigma. I think my MC's friend isn't coping as well as he should and both my MC and his friend have to deal with being different. My MC's strategy is lying, while his friend tells the truth and suffers for it.

While you're at the library, if you can spare the time, read the introduction to Frame Analysis. It has nothing to do with your novel, but it's a hilarious read, and you get a good feeling for Goffman. :D (He was one of my favourites - sociologists that is.)

Beach Bunny
09-20-2008, 10:48 AM
I don't know if this is relevant or will help, but as I was reading through this thread, Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" kept popping into my head. It's basically all about interacting with others in a positive way. *shrug*

Mad Queen
09-21-2008, 12:44 AM
I don't know if this is relevant or will help, but as I was reading through this thread, Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" kept popping into my head. It's basically all about interacting with others in a positive way. *shrug*
I don't think so, but thanks. My characters would only quote scholarly, theoretical work.