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Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2014
11 Pages, Grade: 3,3 (1,3)
In this essay I’d like to take a look at social interactions of individuals who find themselves in a world where known values, believes and rules seem to be invalid and where the individual survival seems to be the only aim to strive for. But is survival the only need of people? The Road, with its cold, bitter and ashen world, where ethics and morale are lost, where “society”, as we know it, is completely absent is a good basis for this research.
“Maybe you’ll be good at this. I doubt it, but who knows. The one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body.” (McCarthy, The Road)
“Action is rational in so far as it pursues ends possible within the conditions of the situation, and by means, which, among those available to the actor, are intrinsically best adapted to the end for reasons(…).” (Parsons, 1937)
These two epigraphs, the first from Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” and the second from Parsons “Structure of Social Action” give us a slight hint about the importance of social relations and interactions and their outcomes. As a consumer of this kind of post-apocalyptic media you’re thrown into these settings by either waking up from a dream or by regaining consciousness. The setting and the “new world order” are already fixed. Either people try to survive for their own while searching and hoping for “others” in order to have a higher chance of surviving, or they are already a part of a community which fights against others in order to survive. In both cases, on the other hand, those “communities” already do exist and in both cases it’s always a question of the “good” against the “bad”. While dealing with post-apocalyptic media several questions came to my mind. How came those communities and groupings and into being? Which role do social interactions and social relations play in order to form a new kind of social system(s), after the (previous-) known world-order got destroyed by an apocalyptic event? Social sciences usually deal with the reasons of social interactions and relations. But they depend on existent fixed social values, rules, laws, morale and religious believes, since those aspects influence the actions of each and every individual.
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