COMS201 Fall 2011

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Lecture 5

Filed under: Uncategorized November 5, 2011 @ 07:56

What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

31 Comments »

  1. Mark P:

    Without hierarchy do we not have anarchy. I’m not sure if that is the case, but it is definitely a point worth thinking about. Look, the world needs leaders and followers. I’m not suggesting that we need to live in some sort of oligarchy where we all bend at the wills of a select few, but we do need some form of hierarchy. This isn’t to say that equality is some sort of fictional principle in which we are born into a pre-determined destiny or something like that, after all, we live in a democracy, meaning if we want change we can evoke change (i.e., elections, Occupy Wall street). Plus, politically speaking, we all have the power to be the top wrung of our hierarchy.

    If what I just wrote was lost on you, or you simply don’t agree with my opinion on the need for hierarchies, look at any functional North American family. Could you image if parents and children were on a completely even playing field? I mean, I know I’m dating myself a tad, but have you ever seen the Osbournes? It’s CHAOS.

  2. therese:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case
    I think humans do tend to make hierarchies. We seem to have a need to both look up to and down on other people. I don’t know that we can have unearned equality. But I believe in our society people have opportunties to achieve things that will cause people to look up to them and/or respect them.

  3. Brooklyn Tchozewski:

    1.What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    I truly believe that Burke is correct in stating we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society. Without realization, if we are walking down a street and see a rugged man sitting down collecting money from a hat, we consider that man poor, homeless, sad, etc. We stereotype people this way, not realizing there are still lower, middle, and upper class citizens with regard to income. Therefore, hierarchy definitely still exists.

    I do not believe society will ever become equal. There needs to be leaders, as there have been leaders for decades. In the countries where there are not leaders, there is an abundance of chaos! For instance, the Rwanda incident. Chaos erupted and there were thousands of murders because of the fight for hierarchy.

    Hierachy also has benefits. People work hard and put in a great amount of effort to get to the “top”. Naturally, there are hard working people who work hard for themselves regardless of hierarchy. However, I don’t believe certain people would volunteer to become geophysicists and medical brain surgeons if they were to get paid the same as someone who holds a sign at the side of the street advertising a hair salon. Of course, there are MANY people who have a great interest in their jobs and would choose their jobs for their own personal interest and benefits. But, there are still people who choose their job solely on money and to get to the “top” of hierarchy. It is inevitable that society will always create a vision of “what is better” and what kind of life stlye is “ideal”.

    2.Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    I do not belive so, unforunately. (As stated above)

  4. christinadruce:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    I believe that a hierarchy and equality are not mutually exclusive. The reality is that we need hierarchies for a fully functioning society. I disagree that people have a need to look up or down others, good leadership is not about feeling superior or condescending, it’s about wisdom, problem solving and guidance. You do not need to be the best in your field to be the best leader. The fact is that there are people who are inherently leaders and others who prefer to follow. Natural leaders are generally more successful at it than those who work hard at developing leadership skills because, in my experience, the ability to lead others is rarely something that can be learned. Further, if you are not naturally inclined towards leadership and find yourself in that position, it can be tremendously stressful as you may be essentially working to develop skills and abilities that contradict your own inclinations and personality. You are working to become someone that you are not, and it makes you uncomfortable to be in your own skin. Some people get around this by focusing on their desire for power, but that is not the same as true leadership.

    Equality is, in my opinion, more about respect. The abuse of power through bullying and/or intimidation is what creates inequality. The feelings of superiority/inferiority is what creates inequality. Elitism creates inequality. None of these qualities or methods are present or used by good leaders.

  5. ken:

    I agree with Burke when he says that humans have a tendency to make comparisons and create heirchy. There is always a rate of comparison that we as humans have. We always want to lean toward good actions, and judge people as bad whose actions are more selfish. There are numerous ways where we partition things as good or bad and black and white.

    With this kind of demarcation, there will never be any equality. There always has to be a comparison against something. We strive to be normal by comparing ourselves against the line of deviance. We always look to have more or better or be better or greater. And there always seems to be “a bigger fish”.

  6. Michael Lee:

    I think that the reason for which we are constantly motivate to have hierarchy in the society because we need diversity in order for the society to operate properly. Without the existence of hierarchy in our society there would not be any motivation for people to become better and thus the society would not be improved.

    For example, if a cashier, a doctor and a homeless person depending on government subsidiaries earns the same money, who would be motivated to work?

  7. Shida:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    When i think about Bruke’s notion, that humans have a tendency to make comparisons and create heirchy … I completely agree with it. As a society we need leaders and followers, without the things or people to look up to i think persuasion and persistent and wanting to be better and do better will be lost, and vice versa .. but somehow doing all of that creates a CRAZY balance.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    No i don’t think there will ever be equality. Like i said without the ups and downs and the good and bad .. the class difference etc, it would throw off a big balance. For example, if we didn’t feel sad we’d never know what happy feels like and wouldn’t be able not enjoy or appreciate it as much! its unfortunate and it shouldn’t be that way .. but i have to say that it tends to work and create such world balance for people to live in.

  8. Fraser Flemons:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    -I agree with this statement. It is impossible to eliminate hierarchies within society, and that has been proved many many times. Look at Communism, which is aimed at eliminating hierarchies from society and making everyone equal in all aspects. Apart from the obvious fact that the Soviet Union collapsed, the core fundamentals of eliminating hierarchies was always unsuccessful. Vladmir Lenin understood this which is why he voiced the need to create the avante guard in order to maintain and control society. There can never be complete equality due to this. It has been proven that we cannot exist without heirarchy, and hierarchy creates mystery and guilt between classes which creates even more distance between classes.

  9. Alan Dockrill:

    I agree with the theory that we are motivated to create social and economic heierarchies. Whether we are biologically predisposed to this end, or socially conditioned to desire this in Western society is another point for debate that is near impossible to answer.

    Certainly in our Western rhetorical existence we instictively want to measure ourselves against others and strive to be on a higher socioeconomic plane. With total equality and the absence of hierarchies, we would be unable to measure ourselves and validate the “value” of our existence. This validation is a very strong motivation for individuals and groups in society.

    True equality is therefore an impossiblity in our Western rhetorical existence. I think even if this is something we all desired (a BIG if), the milleniums of hierarchical conditioning would make this an impossible dream to achieve in practical terms.

  10. Kanza:

    I agree with Burke that we are motivated to make hierarchies within out societies. we have divided ourselves in to different classes; lower class, middle class and upper class, and into different groups which are based on Wealth, Gender, political status, religion, and ethnicity/race. The members of a social group tends to interact mainly within their own group and to a lesser degree with those of higher or lower status. we have been seeing this since ages and therefore cannot eliminate hierarchy and create equality.

  11. nathanking:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

  12. nathanking:

    ^^oops

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?
    I would agree that we are motivated to make hierarchies within society. Every creature that works in a group or a team has some sort of social structure to help maintain order and for the overall benefit of every member of the group. Humans are similar in this regard in that, for the benefit of all, we naturally arrange ourselves in a structure that allows us to meet our basic needs more readily and easily.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?
    Regardless of the hierarchy question, personally, I do not believe that we will ever be able to attain perfect equality on this earth. That is not to say that we should not try to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves but it is to say that thinking you can make everyone an equal on every level, social, economic, etc., is a naive thought.

  13. Alva:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    We see every day that society is placed in hierarchies. We are constantly placing people, ideas and items into categories and ranking them. We thrive on it.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    For me equality does not come from being the same, but from having equal opportunity. I would argue that in our society we have not yet achieved this, but yes I believe it is possible.

  14. Mikayla:

    When I think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society I definitely agree… to some extent. I believe that hierarchies are an inevitable part of nature and today’s society. However, I also think that it comes down to our attitudes and actions towards them and that there are certainly some hierarchies that could be eliminated. I would like to believe that hierarchies don’t have to be a negative thing and and that equality is still possible.

  15. Dan:

    A heirarchy would promote substantive equality in the sense that everyone would be responsibile for fulfilling their individiual role within the heirarchy. I would definitely agree with Burke here, we are geared towards social order and contributing to society, dividing the work load.

  16. Jing Jing Yang:

    I cannot image a society to develop without hierarchies. It is indeed various level make up the society. The obvious example is people who work hard tend to get high position and earn lots of money. The process is make hierarchy. You cannot say that is bad. If everyone at the same level and not motivated to do better, the society would not be improved.

    Once the hierarchy exists in the society, we can’t ever have equality. When we walk on the street and see a person beg there, we give money and think about them at same time. We might consider they’re poor, homeless, and lazy as a successful normal human. But we ever realize there still lower and upper citizens have less income and they just need help. We see through colored glasses and stereotype people in this way which is exactly prove the hierarchy still exists.

  17. CaitlinSimpson:

    One will always have more or less than someone and whether there are politics to put it in place or not humans will always ranks themselves.
    As long as we are a judgemental race, hierarchy will occur.

  18. Raeesa Merali:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    I agree with Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies, I feel hierarchies go hand in hand with rules, structure is what keeps order in the world we live in.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    Yes and no, depends on the context it’s used in. As bad as this may sound I believe there’ll always be more inequality than equality in the world. For example in the workplace that is one place where hierarchy does stand because of different job titles which comes with different salaries, there is no equality there. I think the only equality you’d find there is that everyone is human.

  19. orkhan.suleymanov:

    First and foremost, i think it depends on different sociaties or communities. If the level of people is high, the y do not need hierarchie on them. But for example, in my country the community still need it. I the independence factor, education level, country’s economical conditions is so important in this circumstance. So, we like that societies have to motivated to make hierachies…However i this we will have equality…

  20. moses ndirangu:

    Burke’s argument here is that the act of systematization — roughly arrangement — trades on the ordering of elements. Such orderings establish hierarchies. This becomes especially true when the ordering has an aura of development. So-called “natural hierarchies” thus emerge such as age being superior to youth and master to apprentice.
    Three things are important to observe from this line of argument. First, Burke explicitly refers to the hierarchial principle as the inevitable element. The assertion is that systematization elevates the principle of the system over the specific content of the system. In developmental series, this is the entelechial principle evident in the “end” of the series. Thus, the principle of age takes precedent over the ages of a group of people. Age is a natural entelechial principle, so the older among the group of people are elevated over the younger. In this way, the hierarchic elevation of the principle reaches down into social order and imposes status hierarchy. Thus, the force of the argument for the claim about the social system is not empirical but derivative from the claim about systematization

  21. Duy:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?

    I completely agree with Burke, that we naturally make hierachies within our society. As individuals we are all equipped with different abilities, attributes and experiences. It’s impossible to be completely alike, therefore, we naturally elevate others, and elevate ourselves over others as well, dependent upon our personal priorities and values.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?

    Unfortunately, no. Not in the idealistic sense of the word. We strive to make the world more equal, for example in terms of human rights, student loans and health care, but it’s impossible for everybody to have everything.

  22. Nadia:

    I see Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society as something of great importance and necessary if our society is to run smoothly and with minimal conflict.
    I think the equality will come if we start seeing one positon not being better or worse than another, but all as being important becasue each one in society has their roll to play if society is to be peaceful and productive.

  23. Jill Truscott:

    Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society, that humans are “guided y the spirit of hierarchy”, is an understandable one. For centuries, I feel that humans have naturally arranged themselves into these hierarchies, in terms of levels of government, social structures, etc. To Burke, this creates a sense of order in society. I believe that we are motivated and guided by these hierarchies – even if this can sometimes prove to be negative. In a sense, we do need order in society – for example, some people are better suited to be in positions of leadership. However, I disagree with these hierarchies in the sense that they often lead to social inequalities and stereotypes. Whether or not we can have hierarchies without inequality is still something that has yet to be proven, but I believe that we can live in a society that values all levels of the hierarchy as long as we as citizens respect one another for the positions that we hold. If we can manage to better our society by bettering the way we treat one another, then hierarchy doesn’t have to mean inequality.

  24. sarahscott:

    We discussed hierarchys in one of my other classes and then in a study group today… mostly about how we value our selves and our worth.
    I believe that we have and always will have heirarchys in this world, even if they are personal. Naturally we look up to someone and naturally we look down upon people.
    We respect someone a little more then someone else, we may see ourselves as a better person with more worth then someone lets say…does crack you know? I think it gives us a motivation an a goal and maybe helps us set our own set of values.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?
    I don’t think we will ever have personal equality.
    We are too competitive by nature I believe.

  25. Moira Duley:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?
    I believe that we are motivated to make hierarches within society for a number of reasons, but I think the most prevalent reason for the creation of these hierarches is definition of self. What I mean by this is that individuals attempt to measure their success and presence in society by the success and presence of others in that same society. In a “keeping up with the Jones'” sense, people tend to define themselves and their identity based on how others do, and in order therefore to define oneself, you must define others in relation to your standpoint. In that case I think that all people construct hierarchies in their own minds.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?
    I think that society can label everyone as “equal” in the sense that all people can vote, maintain employment without discrimination, etc. However, there are hierarchies present even within the same distinct stereotypes. For example, I am a blue-eyed, upper-middle class, heterosexual Caucasian female under the age of 21. I constantly compare myself to the same individuals that fall into that specific category as myself and therefore create an individual hierarchy such as: she is more upper-middle class than I am, I have freckles vs. clear skin, I have to wear contacts instead of 20/20 vision. These individual comparisons creates inequality within an individuals mind, even if society labels us “equal” to another.

  26. meghanroskaft:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?
    I agree with Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society. As someone mentioned above, leaders are necessary for society to move forward. Although I’m not sure “leaders” is always the most appropriate term – sometimes it’s an innovator, etc. I don’t believe this because this is the way it has always been, but it has “led” us to more conveniences, cures, and better ways of life. I think this occurs naturally for many reasons. An example to illustrate one of the most important points that there needs to be hierarchy so the rest of us can benefit from others’ strengths, is that of a doctor. If it wasn’t difficult to get into medical school and “just anyone” could be a doctor, we are not going to have quality doctors. Furthermore, people like doctors should be paid in the top echelon because that generally attracts the brightest individuals – which is imperative when dealing with life and death.

    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?
    Although it’s a nice notion to think there an be utter equality, it’s not possible, nor would it be the best for our human community. Although I believe there is equality in one life versus another life, I don’t think it would benefit society to have complete equality in income, status, etc. This could foster complacency.

  27. yamna:

    Burke when he says-humans have a tendency to make comparisons and create heirchy. i feel as if as human we need some sort of guideline, some thing figure to look up to to “lead us” and as much as we try to deny it, the fact it there will always be a heirchy because it take a few to be the wolf while the others are sheep that follow.

  28. Rachel C.:

    I totally agree with Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society. It is very natural that we construct hierarchies in the society and I think the society is one of the reasons, which weighs a lot. The leaders and the followers are always needed as we did before. And for example, the classes in society, if they do not exist and everyone’s equal, then there will be no reason for people to work hard to achieve their goals. No motivations. Therefore, I do not think we will ever have equality in our society. In other sense of equality, I believe we all deserve to have equal opportunities. However, not equality in society.

  29. vincents2:

    I agree with Burke’s notion that we basically have a tendency to create hierarchies in our society. Huamn are creatures living in groups, hierarchies can not be aviod.
    To me I think equality can never be achieveg in human society. Marx’s commuism is only an fantaize utopia. Huamn is selfish in nature, if you own more than others, is hard to give out what you own to other for free. So under the situation of the wealth and power are controlled by small amount of people in the society, it is hard to think that they will give up they own and change the whole hierarchical system.

  30. James McDonal:

    Hierarchies are an absolute must in human society. This isn’t for any political reasons, but is a simple recognition of the fact that everyone is different. Man/woman, smart/less smart, white/black, young/old. There is no end to the number of differences that are possible between us, and because of this it is impossible to treat everyone the same.

    That is not to say that everyone is not entitled to the same level of respect or freedom, but that we must organize ourselves in approopriate categories or else lose control of everything. Hierarchies really are nothing more than our attempt to organize ourselves into coherent groups. The in-crowd, and the outsiders. Acceptable people and unacceptable people. Everyone does it; simply by expressing our opinions on something we categorize and create hierarchies. Just saying “I don’t like that” is tantamount to saying “it is lower than me”.

    Thus, Burke is essentially correct. Hierarchies are a permanent part of the human condition. The shape those hierarchies will take depends on location and culture, but there are always going to be hierarchies in one form or another.

  31. Stephen Moore:

    What do you think of Burke’s notion that we are motivated to make hierarchies within our society?
    I believe that that the motivation to make hierarchies within society is completely ingrained into us, that without even realizing it, we as a people tend to favor those who are similar to us (whether in social status, or economic status), or who we perceive as being in a ‘higher’ status class than us.
    Can we ever have equality if that is the case?
    I believe we will reach equality regarding some aspects of society; but overall, society requires that economically, and socially people must remain spread across a hierarchy.

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