"Military Mirrors Working-Class America" (2003) discusses the social makeup of the military servicemen enlisted in America. The authors, David M. Halbfinger and Steven A. Holmes (2003) point out that the majority of the American military is made up of low-to-middle class citizens. The authors use statistics to prove their theory that America's elite have no reason to join the army, whereas lower status citizens are hard pressed to find the benefits and pay available through the military anywhere else. It is unfair to allow disadvantage people to fight our wars when they signed up simply because they had no other choice. You don't see America's elite fighting in the war; it's the poor who risk their lives to defend our country. It is possible that these individuals would choose a different option other than the military if there were more better-paying jobs and benefits, as well as easier access to better education and financial assistance for education.
[...] The primary reason, according to statistics provided in Halbfinger and Holmes' (2003) article, is that the limited options for working-class America to improve their way of life is why these individuals are joining the army. Sociological Approaches Sociologists could approach the question of why American's are joining the military, with their own theories and then prove them using their choice of approaches; using either the structural-functional approach, the social- conflict approach or the symbolic-interaction approach. All three approaches will result in a different reasoning. [...]
[...] A sociologist using the social-conflict approach would likely lead the sociologist to believe that certain people, such as the disadvantaged as in “Military Mirrors Working-Class America”, join the military as a way of bettering themselves. In the “Military” article, the authors believe the disadvantaged join the military to improve their lot in life. The symbolic-interaction approach is difficult to apply to this situation, however if the sociologist chose this approach, he or she would likely reason that people chose to join the military because it was something they needed to do at that time in their life. [...]
[...] For example, the elite may feel that the poorer individuals should have to go fight for America because they are lazy or uneducated because the elite cannot see the social forces effecting working-class citizens; such as limited educational options, limited jobs and housing options. Social Forces Social forces can affect individual behavior which explains why working- class individuals feel the need to join the military; because social forces are against them. Today's American economy is split among the rich and the poor, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. [...]
[...] While American values include equal opportunity; meaning everyone should be provided with a chance for success according to ones individual efforts and talents; there are more obstacles in the way of achieving success (another value) for working-class citizens. The need for material possessions prompts many people to take action, such as joining the military to achieve success and have more money for material possessions. The sociological-conflict approach explains why the majority of the United States military consists of working-class citizens. These citizens see [...]
APA Style referenceFor your bibliography
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee