We already discussed why we need to study the subject sociology. You have not yet looked at it here is the link: https://adamasuniversity.ac.in/job-prospects-of-sociology-as-a-discipline/
- A very important part of studying sociology is to study its theories. Usually most of the students find it difficult and unimpressive to study the theory part which is a must do. In this write-up I will explain why we need to study the theories and its implications in our everyday life.
- In our everyday life, in minor and major social, cultural economic changes and developments, we all use sociological theories, but in such an implicit way that we are hardly aware of it.
- Sociological theories usually deal with the structure and function of configuration (big and/ or small) constructed by human beings.
- It talks about fundamental social change and development.
- The theories have practical consequences An explicit example can make it easy to understand the importance of studying sociological theories, be it classical or modern.
- One of the important examples in the present-day context is, of course, the digital divide. The locus of digital divide prominently exists between the concept of democracy and market-oriented economics.
- The metamorphosis, again, depends upon the confluence of its very existence and its typologies. The typologies of digital divide may vary at local, regional, national and/ or international levels; among inhabitants, countries and regions. Each of its specificity has its own exclusive and/ or inclusive background, phenomena (varying from socio-economic and cultural traits and influencing region), evolution trends and specific exclusive and/or all-inclusive
- The dominant and all-pervasive concepts of the divide of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are in focus.
- Countries are now trying to reduce this divide. In doing so, the concept of ‘digital inclusion’ is now very much in the policies. It is indubitable that democratization of internet is a necessity with almost all the sectors being dependent now on digital platform. In that manner the post-modern divide may be ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’ (Dragulanescu 2002). Thus, the post-modern concept of ‘information poverty’ (Dragulanescu 2002) is in boom!!!… These are influencing the domain of politics, macro-economic stabilization and potential growth in overall development of a country.
- We also can not deny the role of internet as an efficient tool for communication (in major sectors in this pandemic crisis) where free expression of ideas is encouraged. In that way, on one hand where there are hope and optimism on the other hand there is confusion too where information and security are not monitored rigidly (as priority was in government, military, industry and research). In this manner smart phone, PC, laptop etc. have been a mode of what we may call ‘democratization of communication’.
- The digital divide is not only restricted to ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ but it has now become East-West digital divide in terms of macro-economic stabilization.
- But we have to remember that democratization of communication depends on the development of computing industries, telecommunication infrastructures, professional who are educated and skilled and last but not the least information users. The inimical factors important in this digital divide are internet connection referring to wireless, satellite, cable, modem etc. that are very much dependent on regional divisions (the rural-urban divide). Also, the disparities include terrain, demography, population density, market factors etc.
- These factors are leading towards information poverty making a clear distinction of two class of people (not strictly determined by Marxian concept economic factor only), that is, information rich and information poor. Thus, Non-Marxist conflict theorists and post-modern theorists are playing an important role here in the way that, with the help of their theoretical explanations we can have a working idea of present social change both in its structure and function.
- The concept of interaction is also taking a new shape in the sphere of social distancing. The importance of sociological theories is felt much in this context while popular idea of everyday banal interaction, communication, behaviour etc. are changing and a skilled sociological insight could be able to locate this shift, enhancing the applicability of Foucauldian concept of knowledge and power in this post-modern Thus sociological theories play an important role in understanding society at large.
- Democratization of communication through reducing the digital divide accelerates the conditions of right to education, health and religion in this present-days socio-cultural condition where social distancing is a must do. But the lacuna lies in the fact of ‘not to be so digitally democratized’ where a huge population is not connected to the internet. Who can ever think that this so-called non-essential ‘use’ would be ‘so essential’ that it can pose a threat to our fundamental rights!!!…
- Data are showing that women and old population are more vulnerable to this threat.
- Remote work, telemedicine, broadband mapping are few of those sectors that can be considered in this regard. Again, the point of discussion comes to the root cause of accessibility of digital platforms. And this situation gets worse when we go to villages from mega cities and/ or smart cities.
In this manner the ‘information poor’ or the ‘digital have-nots’ are pushed towards the edge with a constant threat of leaving out of the race! So, it is the time to fathom the intensity of the digital divide and work more on it. We and our children are enjoying meetings and classes via Google Hangout, Zoom etc.. Are we forgetting to think about our counterparts in rural India? Don’t you think there should be a balance in digital (eco)system?
- Thus, theories make implicit contexts explicit. This is just one example. You can find numerous if you study theories.
- The knowledge of sociological theories make one-self to have that insight with the help of which the person reflects on apparently common ideas (that are not so common) from different angles and thinks critically. Sociological theory makes us think in this manner. After studying sociological theories you may be drawn to the critical subjects that never attracted your attention. You may start observing things that you never noticed before and/ or neglected as ‘just banal’. Studying sociological theories makes you a different kind of person with different observation power. If you have not yet started thinking, start now. Let us begin our journey of critical thinking. Till then stay safe.
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