A blog about sociology, written by students in Doha, Qatar.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, I visited Northwestern University’s main campus in Evanston, Chicago. It was my first time, and thus was curious to compare it to Qatar’s campus. I was extremely surprised with large number of students involved in extra curricular activities and clubs, and most importantly their respect towards Northwestern’s traditions and rituals. During today’s class, I thought the functionalist theory was extremely similar to the social structure in NUE. The campus is stable, orderly and systematic. Everybody has a specific role and are divided into groups; resulting with the lively and outspoken campus we have today. They all collaborate together and respect one another’s opinions, even though they may not agree with it. For example, there are many accapella groups, sororities and frat houses spread across campus, and although each group may have different personalities, they all acknowledge each other in a mature manner.
I believe this campus also relates to the functionalist theory because without the help and organization of these students, professors and faculty, Northwestern university wouldn’t be moving forward. The campus would not be stable or as productive. Even social problems such as two clubs fighting over the historical Northwestern rock can make a positive contribution to the society. This will motivate them to stick to the rules to see if the other group will give up on guarding the treasured totem. It will also allow the Daily Northwestern to have a story to write about.
Another concept that we covered in class today, which reminded me of Northwestern’s main campus, was the idea of collective effervescence. During my trip, there was a baseball game that is extremely popular amongst Northwestern students. There are a certain number of seats saved for students in NUE and usually there is an extremely large turn out. During this event, there is a shared feeling of identity in which each student experiences waves of similar emotions and a sense of togetherness. They are all rooting for Chicago and wear Northwestern jerseys and sweatshirts to support their team. This is also considered a ritual as it forces students from different groups and organizations to gather together and reinforce their collective identity.
Why do we have students, professors and faculty in Northwestern University and what do they contribute to that specific community? Why do we have different organizations and clubs? Why is there a different positions and roles for every individual? Without this structure, Northwestern University would not be able to manage all of their students or provide everyone with an activity that meets their needs and expectations. Although many sociologists criticize this theory, I personally believe it is an excellent fit for this university.
The first photo is one of the many acapella groups in Northwestern. They are called Purple Haze.
The second photo is how the rock looked like after we painted it.
The third and fourth photo are from online sources