An oversimplified opposition in sociology is the contraction between two schools of thought. First, there are those who believe that society is a gigantic Alcatraz' that dictates every action of individual actors. Secondly, it can be said that others believe in individual action. Nevertheless, some sociologists, such as E. Goffman, see the sociology as a puppet theatre' in which social interactions are structured by roles. But P. Berger could be located in the school of thought that compares society with a game. P. Berger tries, in Invitation to Sociology, to overcome this conflict between two sociologies and to deliver sociologist from social determinism. After having explained how society can control us from the outside (as a prison) but also from the inside, he deals with society as a puppet theatre'. But finally, he argues that sociology is a Machiavellian discipline that must tend toward humanism. In fact, he sees society as a drama' in which every social agent can step out of his role to be free and change the rules of the game dictated by society. According to him, the secret of winning is insincerity'. What king of game is he dealing with? What does insincerity means for him? In other words: why does P. Berger argue that the secret of winning is insincerity? Moreover, it can be asked if it is a valid thesis. First, we shall explain the thesis of P. Berger before trying to evaluate it.
[...] Berger's thesis: is it true that secret of winning is insincerity'? We shall also discuss some points about his methodological approach. First of all, can it really be said that to win against social control one has to cheat? It has to be acknowledged that if the basic postulate of sociology is that society is a prison or that society is a puppet theatre, insincerity seen not as negative action but more as a delivery towards freedom and social action can be the only way to win against social control. [...]
[...] To conclude, by saying that secret of winning is insincerity', P. Berger means that social agents can step out of their roles and become free from any social control. From a ‘prison' and a ‘puppet theatre', P. Berger manages to cope with social determinism and transform society in a ‘drama' in which individual agent can step out of their role. In order to do so, individuals need to enter in an ‘ecstasy state' that enable them to be conscious of their conditions and to practice ‘social sabotage', that is manipulate the rules of the games and change them into new ones. [...]
[...] Therefore, the secret of winning is ‘social sabotage' that is knowing the rules of the social interaction that stand for a game and cheating. Potter in his comic ‘gamer bla' suggests many ways of cheating during social interactions to become a game . Society as a drama means that we can avoid society rules either by transforming them, being detached or manipulated them. Social sabotage means the ‘refusal to accept their previous definition' and to reinvent new rules. Social sabotage is a demolition. [...]
[...] Berger is to use insincerity that is to try to get out of our roles assigned by society. Why is it the case that to win one need to cheat? P. Berger acknowledges first that society is controlling us externally but also internally. Society is both a prison but also a puppet theatre in which becomes what one plays at' p 115. Then the author argues that society is in fact a ‘drama' or a comedy in which every individual must drop his faith' to give up his role and experience a freedom from society. [...]
[...] Berger synthesis of the two sociologies debate is quite convincing because it would mean that even if we are all controlled by society there is still a room for freedom and social action. On the other hand, P. Berger methodological approach and the implications of his thesis have to be discussed. First of all, let us discuss the way P. Berger manages to make this conclusion. By saying that he is stepping out of a methodological approach can be annoying as well as his use of philosophy and history. [...]
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