On the surface, sociology is the study of society and human behavior; yet
looking deeper, it is the study of humans in groups and how they interact with
one another. Sociologists look at these groups by means of the sociological perspective. This involves looking at a certain behavior like it has never been looked at it before. When done right one can come to a deeper level of understanding about behavior.
Using your sociological imagination you are able conceptualize how a person’s macro level, which consists of the larger aspects of life such as family and government, and their micro level, (which is the individual itself) combine in order form the person they are. Using my sociological imagination I decided to observe the library through the use of symbolic interactionism, one of four sociological perspectives. The others included are the conflict theory, ethno methodology, feminism and structural functionalist.
Symbolic interactionism tends to observe things by paying full attention to the micro level of sociology. Instead of focusing on broader aspects you look at things depending upon the individual and their interactions in society. Through the use of symbols we are able to assign meaning to people and things and then develop our own interpretations of those symbols.
The library, like many symbols signifies silence, thought and work. You would not walk into a library expecting to be served drinks, and to see people dancing on bookshelves. The library evokes an image of peacefulness, in which people are diligently working; yet a closer examination reveals the not so serene value of a library visit.
The Saint Michael’s Library is not a mystery; it is like every other library in which I have even been. There are lots of books, computers and places for people to do work. There are round tables, square tables, rectangular tables, titled tables and flat tables. There are cubicles and small individual rooms known as ‘ masturbation closets’. The layout of the library is pretty standard and doesn’t need much explaining. There are three floors. The basement had one small room of books and the rest is study areas. The first floor is a mix of computer labs, books, magazines and more study areas. The third floor is mostly books and of course more places to study.
Leah and I walked through the library doors, shortly after nine. We trudged up the stair anticipating the extreme pleasures of homework. We chose a small square table on the first floor. To our left was a table of four girls, to our right was two guys and next to them was two small individual cubicles occupied by a male and a female.
Leah and I began to unload our work; as she tries to get work done I began my observations. Each one of the four girls is diligently working almost as if the others do not exist. The two boys appear far from humorless as they read through magazines, laughing and making jokes about...