The Future of Work (© 11/28/11) – Created by Dr. H. Mark Ellis
I have outlined some features of a “make believe” human society below — and yes, this is still a human society. Some of the pieces of the puzzle are missing. You’ll have to fill in these pieces and read into the narrative presented. Comment on what work might look like in this society taking into account the parameters that I have set for this society. You should read all the parameters that I have set before you begin to write your response. You may have to go back to yourPrinciples of Sociology notebook for some basic definitions. You don’t have to answer all these questions but talk about some of the course themes such as intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, who does what in a society and why, the interconnection between work and home life, equity and the division of labor, worker satisfaction, forces that influence the organization of work, democracy and the moral order of work, etc. Be creative. What obstacles and challenges do you see for this society as they relate to the social organization of work? Focus on one or two aspects of work – no more than two pages or so. I use this assignment in several different courses. For our class, let’s focus on the issues/themes related of work. Good luck and have fun with it. Read the entire description of this society outlined below before you craft your posting and response to others.
Social Characteristics and Features of this Society
1) This will be a human society living in a four-season climate environment. Electricity is available only to one half of the physical land. On this part of the landmass where there is no electricity is the water supply, animals fit for human consumption, and only food sources that animals can eat. The other half of the landmass where electricity can run has soil and plants that people can eat.
2) The only social construction of identity will be sexual orientation. There is no such thing as race, ethnicity, or masculine/feminine/gender. What is sexual orientation and how is it different from gender construction/identity? Will this society treat sexual orientation as a difference in a hierarchical system of identity where one group is privileged and the other oppressed – as in heterosexuality as the norm? Tell me how this system of social construction based on difference will be defined and how it will work in terms of face-to-face daily encounters – with human interactions. The only stipulation is that you cannot segregate the two groups – Same-sex attracted and heterosexuals.
3) What will be the core values of this society? Use the seven principles from Kwanza as a guide when developing your own values. Will there be a difference among values/mores, customs, traditions, morals, ethics, and formal written rules? Will there be formal and informal rules? How will these norms and the format of these norms serve this society? How might religion be defined? Will religion have a function in this society? What would social control mean for this society? You may not use these principles directly. You can only adapt or extend from them.
Umoja – unity that brings us together – unity
Kujichagulia — we will determine who we are – self-determination
Ujima – working and building our union – work – cooperative and communal work
Ujamaa – we’ll spend our money wisely – cooperative economics
Nia – we know the purpose of our lives – purpose
Kuumba – all that we touch is more beautiful – creativity
Imani – We believe that we can – faith
4) Describe what people would look like and how they would dress. Remember, there is no such thing as race. People do have different skin color and physical features, but they are not recognized, defined, or treated differently. What meaning would dress have in this society since there is no gender construction?
5) Write one verse and chorus of a national anthem or a pledge of allegiance. Is this a form of political socialization? What will nationality mean to the members? Do these lyrics take into account life realities for all groups in this society? Is it representative of everyone? Who might not embrace the ideas/ideals in these lyrics?
6) Who and how will the values of the society be taught/instilled and reinforced? There is no such thing as the traditional family. Individuals are tagged at birth for genetic and blood identification so that biological/blood relations will not have vaginal intercourse to procreate. Will they have an incest taboo? Everyone is responsible for everyone. People live in groups of 20-30. How will social bonds be formed? Would this arrangement create polygamy? Would intimacy be redefined? Would people care about marriage ceremonies or would they be more focused on family rights? Would this be a democracy? Will suicide be a social problem?
7) How will rule breakers be dealt with?
8) How will basic needs throughout the life cycle be defined and how will individuals gain access to these needs? How would work be socially organized? Describe/develop the political system built into societal processes.
9) If you value leisure, how will people spend their time? If you have holidays, what will you celebrate/commemorate and why? List five customs and traditions that you will create and how will they function and why? (saying thank you, not talking with your mouth full, cutting your toenails in private, stigmatizing/shunning AIDS babies, etc.)
10) Describe the individual and collective attitudes of the members toward this society. Is there a collective identity?
11) How will self-concept/self perception be defined? What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a self-concept? Will members focus on self or on others? Would individuals have a need to have birthday parties?
12) Remember, there is no social difference/hierarchy based on race, sex/gender, and economic social class. Other than sexual orientation being the only social construction, the only other given is that infants, toddlers, and young children are primarily dependent on older members until the young reach the age of self-sufficiency.
13) What social problems do you anticipate for this society/social system of human arrangement? What new problems do you see arising? What problems will you leave behind from the social world as we know it now? and, Is hierarchy/ social stratification inevitable in all social systems? How will they deal with emergencies?
14) Made up facts about these people/this society: 2 out of 5 adults over 35 years old cannot read; 20% of adult heterosexuals over 25 years old are HIV+ and 60% of that population do not know their HIV status and have limited access to knowing their status – the HIV health status of same-sex attracted is unknown; there are no cell phones, microwaves, fast-food, and there is only one radio and television station; running water is available only from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm; television programming runs from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm and is only available to adults age 20 and up. TV scanners have to be surgically sewn into their eyes on their 20th birthday and this is an elective procedure and is only available to those who have worked since the age of self-sufficiency. People who do not work have to have the scanners removed and will have access only to the radio; and finally, there is no such thing as high-rise buildings.
15) Members of this society have developed different interests, skills and abilities. As a result, not all work in this society might get done. How can you re-engineer this attitude and their reward system to facilitate the completion all necessary work in this society?
16) One day some people ended up in a basement in an abandoned building and this “thing” was wiggling around on the floor and defecating. It had no spine and could not stand. It had the face of an angel and a grossly deformed human body. It was naked. The people ran out laughing and screaming. Soon after, others came to see this “thing” and they all laughed. Who are the people of this society? How are they best characterized?
17) When people start to date they are encouraged to listen the following two songs: Love is a Stranger and Sanctuary.