The field of sociology also has “founding fathers” they are Durkheim, Marx, and Weber; these three old, white men gave sociology its foundation. How did this foundation come about? The reason why the field of Sociology has classical theorists is because we wanted one, it was done out of necessity to define sociology as its own field and discipline. Durkheim, Marx, and Weber form the canon of Sociology but there are a few problems with this, first and foremost it is limiting. Sociology, specifically classical sociology, was largely defined by a white male middle class perspective, and the perceptive is limited because of this. This was somewhat hard to avoid at the time because much of the work being produced at the time was done by white males. It is also important to note that Durkheim, Marx, and Weber did not read each other’s work which furthers the problem of this limited or narrow perspective. Had they been able to read each other’s work new and different theories could have come about.
Sprague pointed out three problems with sociology being defined by this limited white male middle class perspective, they are the hierarchy of the social, poor analytic categories and the role of social theory is largely misguided. It is my hope to demonstrate how these three problems affect the way we, the public, receive information for news sources, such as the local news broadcast, a newspaper like the Chicago Tribune, among others. Most companies are run by white males, they same can be said in regards to news cast agencies. The information we are given access to comes from this limited white middle class male perspective which address the first problem Sprague pointed out, hierarchy of the social, that is there is a privileged/selective perspective. Although there are women newscasters, there are a lot more males and males holding higher positions which gives them more say in what is and is not reported and the way in which it’s reported. The next problem pointed out by Sprague is that poor analytical categories have been created. These poor analytical categories call attention to the problem of logical dichotomies that is things are male/female, black/white; there is no wiggle room, no gray space. This is a problem because it is not representative of real life; it is an inaccurate portal of things. Many of us know that things are not either black or white but a lot of the time there is some gray space, this applies to the field of broadcasting and specifically the news. Newscasters report only report what they know to be true, this is because they do not want to have to come back later and tell everyone that what they reported was wrong, this is similar to a magazine or newspaper running a reprint because information they reported was wrong or not correctly reported. Finally the last problem Sprague discusses is the role that social theory is largely misguided. All these people who we know to be mostly white middle class males theorize about the world’s problems but then do nothing to help solve them. Many times during newscasts there is a small section of time allotted for local events where newscasters will let the public know about the different upcoming events in their local community or the ways in which the public can get involved. Receiving this information is great but how many of the hundreds of thousands of people watching the local news actually go out and participate in these events after hearing about them from the news?
Perspective is a very important concept to keep in mind. It is important to think about the sources of your information are coming from because that can and may affect the type of information you receive. If you compared are local newscast to one of from a different country to information given during these two programs would be very different. The issues we have here in the US are going to be different than the issues facing say France or Italy or even the Middle East; the information reported in newscasts is going to be different because of this. Governments in France, Italy and or in the Middle East may not be so forthcoming with information especially if it is going to make them look bad and this is why perspective is important; the people in charge of what stories make the news and what don’t also have the power to skew information.