Fragmentation of Society
In “The Fragmentation of Social Life” by D. Stanley Eitzen, he explains how at this moment many people are at their prime. Everything is going well for them but what they don’t realize is the problem the society is facing as a whole; that problem being the fragmentation of social life. He categorizes the way society is fragmented, into four parts.
First, being the excessive individualism, followed by heightened personal isolation, widening income and wealth gap and the deepening racial/ethnic/religious/sexuality divide. Although his argument toward society is very true, what he does is he generalizes the society as the whole. He especially doesn’t consider the alternative factors for someone who is has excessive individualism and heightened personal isolation.; but his argument towards the widening gap between poverty and wealth and the divide is very true and fragmented because it is at times inevitable.
The first factor that contributes to fragmentation is excessive individualism. Individualism is considered to independent and at times self-fish; only thinking about what can benefit us and not considering how others would be affected. Eitzen states how as Americans, it is in our economic system to be individualistic, “we are self-reliant and responsible for our actions” (564) and concludes how being individualistic promotes inequality towards the disadvantage.
Excessive individualism doesn’t necessarily completely promote inequality; I agree that with individualism the advantages only think of themselves and now how those below them are affected. Eitzen argues how Republicans wanted to lower the rates of taxes so more individuals would benefit and the government would receive less; but in doing so he states how if that happens the disadvantages end of receiving less benefits. From my understanding, I concluded that he states how the advantages would receive more when the disadvantages are actually the one who needs the benefits. He doesn’t necessarily argue and include the benefits that the poor do have.
I agree with how he states how schools are finance, how wealthier districts have better schools and the poor do not, but he needs to consider that the wealthy people that are in those districts and areas and commonly the ones who pay for the better education. For example, private schools are known to have better education than a regular public school, but those people that go to private are paying an average of twenty thousand a year. I do agree with how selfish the wealthy could be but consider some of the things the wealthy do to receive their benefits.
The second factor toward fragmentation is how commonly people isolate themselves, whether it be from their neighbors, co workers or even family members. He argues how those who work at home are disconnected from social networks and their colleagues (564). It is understandable that interacting with colleague is suitable, but many people work at home not to isolate themselves from their co workers but it may be relevant to watching their kids or dealing with a family issue. I am not arguing and saying working at home is the best, but at times its more convenient to work at home then to actually work in an office. He addressed the issue between gated communities and how many people don’t want to shop at local shops. Majority of the people that live in gated communities is for safety.
They might have experienced living in a bad community earlier and decide to move to safer gated neighborhood. He also addresses how technology encourages isolation. His argument towards technology is very accurate, families don’t spend enough time together and always rely on phones, tablets and computers to keep them entertained and isolated. In a way, he generalizes all families, “such homes may be full of people but they are really empty” (564). Not all people that adapt to the enhancements of technology depend and isolate themselves into it. Different people isolates themselves for various reasons, some even do it without any intention of doing it. The last two factors towards fragmentation include: the widening inequality gap and the deepening divide according to race, ethnic, religion and sexuality.
He addresses the wide gap between those in poverty and those who are billionaires. His argument is something one can’t counter because the gap between the two has been increasing for years. The wealthy isolate themselves from the poor because they see themselves as being so much higher. The poor isolate themselves from the wealthy because of the criticism of how they aren’t helping those who are poor. In addition, people segregates themselves from those who are different, according to race/ethnic/religion/sex, because they at times see themselves of having authority over someone. It is a form of ignorance that some don’t notice; they express hatred towards someone.
For example, some Caucasian people show dislike towards African Americans because they feel as though they have authority over them. This goes for not only race but for religion, sex and ethnic. People isolate themselves from one another because they feel as though they are better. “The Fragmentation of Social Life” by D. Stanley Eitzen reveals to readers why so any people today separate themselves from society. He addresses four factors that contribute to fragmentation but in his argument he doesn’t include why people isolate themselves. He also doesn’t include alternative factors that can result to someone separate themselves. Some people detach themselves from society intentionally and some do it without even realizing. Isolating yourself from society can be as little as avoiding a friend in the hallway or as big as being a multimillionaire.