Seeking the Social in Music

Posted: August 7th, 2013


Seeking The Social In Music






Seeking The Social In Music

A) Sociology is the comprehensive and scientific study of human beings and the social behaviors they exhibit. Sociologists also examine human, social behavior by delving deeper into the society by studying areas such as deviant behavior, social stratification, culture, secularization and social change, as well as societal problems. According to Mills (15), sociological imagination is the understanding of the connection between the society and experience. Since sociological imagination emphasizes that social outcomes are wrought by social context and actions, its use in comprehending social life is valuable since it helps one understand things done in society are all related to outcomes.

B) Social issues are considered as a range of contentious political problems that influence people’s private lives and connections. Personal issues are problems that affect an individual’s personal life and are unique. Depending on a person’s decisions and actions in society, personal efficacy and locus of control are elemental. Personal efficacy borders on the ability of a person to achieve a goal or an objective in personal situations in a social context. Locus of control accentuates an individual’s ability in controlling the events around them by either believing that they can direct their life, or that their decisions and actions are primarily controlled by social issues that they cannot control. People are therefore, likely to have a low locus of control due to the rigidity of social issues but have high personal efficacy when dealing with personal issues. A person with a high locus of control tends to be politically motivated, takes up social issues, and influences change around them while exhibiting a high rate of personal efficacy regardless of the situation or environment they occupy. Low locus of control dictates deviant behavior in persons and thus attributes deviant actions due to low personal efficacy in a society.

C) An example of a band that has addressed some of the problems individuals and the society face is ‘Rise Against’. ‘Make It Stop (September’s Children)’ is one song that addresses the discrimination in schools. The song features in the band’s sixth studio album, Endgame and is written by the band’s lead vocalist, Tom McIlrath. This song highlights the problems students go through in school and the negative outcomes that result because of the actions of the discriminators.

D) Social issues as aforementioned are problems controversial in nature that affect an individual’s personal life and influence their social relationships. These issues, though addressed by the political system in a given state or country, still produce an effect on the members of a society that necessitates them to create decisions and actions, and change their social behaviors based in the social issue. The song was chosen because it addresses the social problem of homophobic bullying as a discriminatory act among homosexual students, and its effect on the ones that have their rights violated, as well as the discriminators. It is a social problem because it hinders the exercise of a person’s rights and freedoms as regards the rules and regulations that govern the given society. The song also cites the various discriminatory acts and stereotypes the homosexual students experienced which eventually led to their unprecedented deaths through suicide.

E) Homophobia is considered a hate crime in the United States. According to a survey done in 2010 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Press Office, 19.3 percent of hate crimes in the United States were based on sexual orientation. Students with other sexual orientations apart from heterosexuality suffer emotionally and psychologically due to their isolation since the society regards them as immoral or mentally challenged. A study carried out by Rotheram-Borus, Hunter & Rosario (500), surmised that gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more susceptible to commit suicide than heterosexual young people are.

F) Rise Against, which hails from Chicago, Illinois was formed in December 1999. It was formed under the name Transistor Revolt. They specialize in the genre of rock music, specifically punk rock and melodic hardcore. It is comprised of band members, Tom McIlrath who is the lead vocalist, Zach Blair, Joe Principe and Brandon Barnes. The band spent its first years at the Fat Wreck Chords label for five years, where they released their first two albums, The Unraveling and Revolutions per Minute in 2001 and 2003 respectively. In 2003, they signed to the major label, Geffen Records. The band is famed for their role in activism and conservationist themes. They advocate for reformist organizations such as Amnesty International, and It Gets Better Project. They also endorse animal rights by supporting the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization (PETA) and have straight edge beliefs and vegetarian eating attitudes. Siren Song of the Counter Culture, their major debut, achieved commercial success for the band while two other albums, Appeal to Reason and The Sufferer & The Witness received platinum and gold certification in Canada and the United States respectively. The band recently recorded their sixth album, Endgame and released it in March 15, 2011 (Rise Against Biography).

G) Bang, bang, go the coffin nails, like a breath exhaled, been gone forever, it seems just like yesterday, how did I miss the red flames? Raise these back, the days we left, we braved these bitter storms together

Brought to his knees, he cried, but on his feet he died
What God would damn a heart? And what God drove us apart? What God could?
Make it stop, let this end

Eighteen years pushed to the ledge, it’s come to this, a weightless step

On the way down singing
Bang, bang, from the closet walls, the schoolhouse halls, the shotgun’s loaded, push me and I’ll push back, I’m done asking, I demand
From a nation under God, I feel it’s love like a cattle prod, born free but still they hate, born me, no, I can’t change
It’s always darkest just before the dawn, So stay awake with me, let’s prove them wrong
Make it stop, let this end, eighteen years pushed to the ledge, it’s come to this, a weightless step On the way down singing
The cold river washed him away but how could we forget? Gathering the candles but not their tongues
And too much blood has flown from the wrist of children shamed for those they chose to kiss Who will rise to stop the blood? We’re coming for, insisting on a different beat, yeah, a brand new song
A brand new song (Endgame).

H) Sociological information relates the desired outcome arising out of actions and decisions based on social forces. Make It Stop highlights the plight of nine children who were all students at the Rolling Meadows High School. It follows the lives of three teenagers bullied for being gay. The pressure eventually forces them to commit suicide. The song was inspired by the September 2010 suicides due to homophobic bullying. Sociological imagination is evident in this song due to the actions the teenagers made because of societal pressure by bullying. Such actions influenced the students to commit suicide to avoid the stigma associated with homosexuality.

I) This song was selected due to its controversial nature in addressing homophobia, which is discrimination that has led to the deaths of many innocent people. Homophobia has been evident for a while, but people have been ignorant and afraid in addressing an issue as animalistic and barbaric. The world is comprised of different people with different cultures and attitudes. No person has the right to discriminate another based on his or her preference.






Works Cited

“FBI Releases 2010 Hate Crime Statistics.” 2011. Web. 24 Sep. 2012.

“Rise Against Biography.” 2009. Web. 24 Sep. 2012.

Mills, C W. Sociological Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.

Rise Against. “Make It Stop (September’s Children).” Endgame. The Blasting Room, 2011. CD

Rotheram–Borus, Hunter, Rosario. “Suicidal behavior and gay-related stress among gay and bisexual male adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Research 9.4 (2004): 498 – 508. Print

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