How Does an Analysis of the Wider Social Context Help Us Understand Individual Actions More Fully

By exploring the concepts presented in this chapter it is my intention to elaborate upon the interconnectivity of the individual and society.Drawing on material supplied in chapter one (Carter et al 2008) I shall attempt to investigate this issue from several different angles. In this chapter, Tim Jordan’s central theme is security in social context. In order to provide a context he takes two case examples. one relating to troubles in his allotment and the other relating to the psychic ramifications of Harry Potter. From these two cases, he interlaces them with some interesting sociological reflections in order to point out to the reader the intricacies not just of security from a social context but also the dichotomy between the ‘rational choice theory’ and the wider social science viewpoint of human interdependence.In this essay I will follow a structural approach. firstly clarifying some of the theoretical considerations brought about by Jordan and then moving onto personality integration as covered by the Harry Potter case study and then the reflections about the individual and society noted in the allotment case history. Finally, I will be detailing some of the deeper contextual issues of social interaction.The intuitive model immediately brings to mind the ‘rational choice theory’ which purports that every choice we make is the rational action of an independent active individual. Sociology takes a different perspective.Jordan outlines Barnes (2000) viewpoint on the three elements which make up individuality. these are rationality, free will and agency. Rationality can be explained as actions based upon reasons. free will represent choice and agency represents the ability to act upon the choice which we have made. Jordan raises the example of the Harry Potter novels whereby the book publisher, published the book in order to make money which is the reason behind publishing it. He notes the trust placed in the PBET test in his allotment has been an example of free will and his decision to leave the allotment as an example of an agency.

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