Cultural Reflections Assignment. In the US, we are, like many cultures, most familiar with codified law, courts, and warfare as formal means of social control, but are there parallels to the other types of formal means of social control? For example, among the Inuit there are song duels, which are derisive song contests. Is there a parallel to this in US culture (it might not be a formal mechanism, but is there something similar)?
Discuss potential parallels for each of the formal mechanisms of social control that are not related to codified law and warfare (song duels, intermediaries, oaths and ordeals, and moots). How effective are these? How effective are the informal means of social control? Discuss a time when you were subjected to an informal mechanism of social control and/or where you witnessed someone being subjected to an informal means of social control. Was it effective and why?
Discuss how a supernatural belief system functions as a means of social control. Give an example in the US and compare/contrast it with an example from another culture. How does religion affect the behavior of the believers? What happens if the believers don’t do what the belief system says they should? Beyond social control, what does religion do for people in any given culture? Aside from defining what is considered to be good behavior, what else does religion do for us?
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