Defamiliarization, rational behavior, self-interest, the Durkheimian perspective, rationality and group solidarity among humans
The Durkheimian perspective is particularly interesting in its ground-breaking suggestions and novel ideas. Usually, when we consider the behavior of humans, especially humans living in "Western" society, we usually associate the behavior with actions that are "rational" and based on some sort of calculation. Whenever we think of economic calculations, social situations, and almost any other situations people come across in the course of their daily lives, we tend to believe that unless a person is mentally unstable, that person is "behaving rationally". Usually, the idea of behaving rationally is associated with being intelligent, doing things in a careful and calculated manner, and the idea of "self-interest" is a crucial element in all of this rational behavior.
[...] The Durkheimian perspective is extremely unusual and unfamiliar because it forcefully undermines that idea that humans behave rationally both as individuals and as a group. This defamiliarization, however, forces us to think anew about the “rationality” of human beings, and forces us to draw conclusions and find answers that are much more nuanced than, simply, “humans always behave rationally.” Bibliography Collins, Randall. “Sociological Insight: an Introduction to Non-obvious Sociology.” New York: Oxford University Press Miner, Horace. “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.” The American Anthropologist 503-507, 1956. [...]
[...] We usually make no distinctions between people who behave rationally as a group, and those who behave rationally as individuals. The Durkheimian perspective challenges this assumption and makes a clear distinction between the rationality of groups versus the rationality of individuals: if we follow the logic of a strictly rational viewpoint, we come to the opposite conclusion. If people acted on a purely rational basis, they would never be able to get together to form a society at (Collins 9). [...]
[...] Defamiliarization and Whether Humans Can Act Rationally The Durkheimian perspective is particularly interesting in its ground- breaking suggestions and novel ideas. Usually, when we consider the behavior of humans, especially humans living in “Western” society, we usually associate the behavior with actions that are “rational” and based on some sort of calculation. Whenever we think of economic calculations, social situations, and almost any other situations people come across in the course of their daily lives, we tend to believe that unless a person is mentally unstable, that person is “behaving rationally”. [...]
[...] By first removing our assumptions and viewing the argument with an open mind, we are able to understand it despite the fact that it clashes with our former beliefs. Defamiliarization force sociologists, as well as those with an open-mind, to encounter unusual situations with no preconceived notions, and the unfamiliarity of the environment further helps stimulate this sort of critical thinking that results in a better analysis and a more thorough understanding of whatever it is that one is attempting to discover or understand. [...]
[...] Rediscovery, the process by which humans discover things anew and view them from a different perspective, is also possible as a result of defamiliarization—as a result of an open mind that is acting in an unfamiliar setting. Miner's essay “Body Ritual among the Nacirema,” is an excellent demonstration of defamiliarization. When entering the Nacirema tribe territory and attempting to understand their lifestyle and rituals, Miner was well aware that his perspective and understanding of human customs was unsatisfactory for the purpose at hand. [...]
using our reader.