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Sociology project - Essay Example

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The article offers a new perspective about gossip. It explains how gossip can be considered as something good instead of the usual negative connotation of the word…
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Sociology Project Article Reviewed: http www.nytimes.com 06/16/your-money/studies-find-gossip-isnt-just-loose-talk.html?ref=sociology
The article that will be reviewed in this essay is, “Studies Find Gossip Isn’t Just Loose Talk” (Tugend). The article offers a new perspective about gossip. It explains how gossip can be considered as something good instead of the usual negative connotation of the word. A modern definition of gossip by sociologist Timothy Hallett is given at the beginning of the article. Hallett defines gossip as “the unsanctioned evaluative talk about people who aren’t present” (Tugend 1). According to Tugend, gossip is useful in preserving the social norms and effective in checking on the behaviors of people (1). Gossip helps warn other people of acting inappropriately, lest they be the object of gossip.
Tugend revealed that in an experiment conducted by Robb Willer, a sociology professor, even “the threat of gossip can encourage people to be nicer” (1). In another research conducted among participants in a lottery, it was revealed that gossip is also instrumental in making sure that individuals will not take advantage of a group (Tugend 1).
In conclusion, the article states that gossip can be useful if it is not malicious. It can work to an organization’s advantage provided that it is properly managed and controlled. It is an effective tool in strengthening the norms of society.
The three primary theoretical perspectives in sociology are relevant in the study conducted. Foremost among this is symbolic interactionism which one observes in gossip. Although there is no direct interaction between the one spreading the gossip and his victim, there is an interaction between the person spreading the gossip and his audience. The interaction is facilitated through words or even gestures to make the gossip more interesting. The words used in gossip are the means by which the victim becomes the object of the conversation.
Another sociological concept that may be applied in the article is the concept of conflict. Obviously, conflict is involved between the one spreading the gossip and his victim. The person spreading the gossip may not agree with how his victim behaves. The conflict exists if the victim does not meet the norms and standards of the group. The victim may not be aware of the conflict because the gossip is made behind his back. There is no face-to-face confrontation between the person spreading the gossip and the object of the gossip. Eventually however, if the victim learns about the gossip being spread about him, he may choose to confront the person who initiated the gossip.
The functionalist perspective is significant in the study conducted in that it emphasizes that to address the issues on gossip, every person involved must work together to solve the problem. The functionalists believe that members of society should agree on working together for the good of society. In the article discussed, individuals are being informed of the positive aspects of gossip as a tool to make everyone conform to the norms of society. Gossip should not entirely be divisive; rather, it should be used as an instrument to uphold the togetherness of society in terms of the standards of behavior.
Works Cited
Tugend, Alina. "Studies find gossip isnt just loose talk." 15 June 2012. nytimes.com. Web. 10 July 2012 . Read More
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