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California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Created: October 23, 2001
Latest Update: December 7, 2001


Conceptual Linking

Journal entry by Heidi Rickman

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Heidi Rickman: December 7, 2001.
"Fair use" encouraged.

In the following journal entry Heidi Rickman offers an excellent example of how to explain your learning in a submission that linkd the concepts we have studied to our real world experiences. I am posting to help those of you who may still be struggling with conceptual linking.

On , Wednesday, December 5, 2001, Heidi Rickman wrote:

Subject: 3 important things that I have learned soc 355 Jeanne

I have learned many important concepts and theories this past semester. The first three which come to mind are:

Adversarialism: I have learned that adversarialism is essential to the survival of all mankind and our world. As we experienced on Sept 11, adversarialism is described as fear, anger and destructiveness.

jeanne's comments:
I'd add competitiveness for the resources available, with emphasis on grabbing the most resources possible for you and yours.

Much of this occurs because someone has felt wronged and their self esteem has been wounded. Often times this anger , hatred and fear are directed at others who are not necessarily the source who caused the injury. An example would be the terrorists' destructiveness to all Americans and not just the leaders who develop and carry out the policies. Many times this anger can also be diverted from the source and directed into socially and culturally accepted norms like competitiveness and domination of the "other". This is how people are taught to look out for themselves and their own personal gain no matter who they hurt or what they have or do to attain their goals and pleasures. This keeps the individual from connecting and cooperatively helping to build the community.

jeanne's comments:

Adversarialism has been socialized into in all our institutions. This is because many of the key people who are in the key positions are looking out for their own interests and gain. Adversarialism is found in every area of our daily lives such as politics, religion, education and gender just to name a few.

jeanne's comments:
Cite Fellman as the source.

I have also learned that through adversarialism growth and positive constructive gain can also be found. There can be a shift in the paradigm from Adversarialism which can effectively transform the dominant discourse. (Fellman. Most often this shift is gradual and occurs over a period of time . As the individual shifts from having to do things only their way and feeling that only their way is the correct and only way of doing things, we discover a more mutual and empathetic view, that Fellman calls mutuality. I think that there can be a balance found somewhere between adversarialism and mutuality.

I also enjoyed the readings of Nietzsche and his Ubermensche. This refers to a person's ability and power to struggle and break free of society's sanctioned roles. Also it is the power to reject society's values that are imposed upon people's lives. The Ultimate man is involved in the constant seeking of pleasure, riches, and comfort. This is one plausible explanation why the Middle Easterners despise Americans, and how and why they view the U. S. today as "evil.". They see Americans as being self-serving and complacent in their worship of consumerism and capitalism.

Nietzsche felt that the Ultimate man can be over come.The Ubermensche is a higher stage (than Ultimate Man or bourgeois man). The individual as Ubermensche has the freedom and courage to struggle and overcome society's roles and values with which it places constraints on man. This man, the Ubermensche, can then embrace life and not fear its restrictive sanctions of the bourgeoisie's self-justifying values and society's dominant discourse.

A third theory that I have learned is that of structural functionalism. This theory explains society as being like a self-regulating system that is made up of interdependent parts, operating together to create and maintain stability, balance, and social order. The interdependent components are social institutions, such as religion, family, law enforcement, politics, and education, just to name a few.. Since all of these work together changes, decisions and events that take part in one part of the system affect all the other parts eventually. Durkheim saw people as socially constructed and so the society produces the individual. A person's personality and their morals are constructed and regulated by society. The way we dress, follow the customs of our country, the way we think feel and act are social facts. These social facts affect how we live our daily lives at work, school, in our family, and in our community so that we do not face ridicule and punishment.

Thank you for a semester full of very interesting readings, discussions and fun. I have learned many new and exciting things and have really enjoyed reading Dear Habermas. Because of the things that you have taught concerning dominant discourse and the "other" I now look at things a little differently than I had before. I will look forward to and continue to read each current issue.

Thanks again,
Heidi Rickman