The Socialsense blog has been created to support the SACE Society and Culture classes at Thebarton Senior College (TSC )in South Australia. It contains resources, thoughts and learning materials for the courses. SACE Society and Culture courses have been designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore, analyse, consider and discuss the complexities and interconnections of our societies and cultures in the Australian and Global context.
Idioms exist in every language. An idiom is a
word or phrase that is not taken literally, like “bought the farm” has nothing to do
with purchasing real estate, but refers to dying. Idiom also refers to a
dialect or jargon of a group of people, either in a certain region or a group
with common interests. Idioms are usually specific to a culture (and sub-cultures)
and make it difficult for outsiders of a group to really know what is meant by
a saying (even if a person has a good grasp of the language). Idioms are a way
for a group to exclude non-members and may apply to a small group or a large cultural
group. Idioms are part of group identity and behaviour.
As mentioned this week in class, one of the reasons for the interest and dominance of Reality TV on our screens at the moment is the fascination people have with how groups operate and how people act in groups. As an individual we play many roles in our life depending on what group/s we participate in at any one time. Many of us play quite different roles, depending on whether it is a family, social, work or recreational type of group. In groups we acquire informal roles of being a leader, others we may be the organiser, joker, information givers, disgruntled etc
The purpose of this posting on group theory is to give some guidance to help you observe the informal roles individuals play in groups, in particular, the group you have joined to undertake the Groups Task assessment item for the course. These informal roles are in addition to the formal roles of leader, recorder, time-keeper and reporter we discussed in the 'Setting up the Group" posting.
The following are group roles which relate to the completion of the group's task. They are:
Information-seeker: Asks for information about the task.
Opinion-seeker: Asks for the input from the group about its values.
Information-giver: Offers facts or generalization to the group.
Opinion-giver: States his or her beliefs about a group issue.
Elaborator: Explains ideas within the group, offers examples to clarify ideas.
Coordinator: Shows the relationships between ideas.
Orienter: Shifts the direction of the group's discussion.
Evaluator-critic: Measures group's actions against some objective standard.
Energizer: Stimulates the group to a higher level of activity.
Initiator-contributor: Generates new ideas.
Social Roles (Helping behaviour)
Groups also have members who play certain social roles. They are:
Harmonizer: Mediates differences between group members.
Compromiser: Moves group to another position that is favored by all group members.
Gatekeeper/expediter: Keeps communication channels open.
Standard Setter: Suggests standards or criteria for the group to achieve.
Group observer: Keeps records of group activities and uses this information to offer
feedback to the group.
Follower: Goes along with the group and accepts the group's ideas.
Encourager: Praises the ideas of others.
Individualistic Roles (Dysfunctional behaviour)
These roles place the group member above the group and are destructive to the group. They are:
Blocker: Resists movement by the group.
Recognition seeker: Calls attention to himself or herself.
Self-confessor: Seeks to disclose nongroup related feelings or opinions.
Dominator: Asserts control over the group by manipulating the other group members.
Help seeker: Tries to gain the sympathy of the group.
Special interest pleader: Uses stereotypes to assert his or her own prejudices.
Aggressor: Attacks other group members, deflates the status of others, and other
During the Group Task every member will be asked at least once to step outside of the group for a short time and become an observer and usethe 'Group observation' worksheetto 'map' the nature of the participation and decision making in the group.
group task for the course is focussed on the engagement with a social
cause. Before embarking on the task we need to be very clear what social
ethics means and what a cause with underlying ethics look like.
The SACE course describes the examination of Social Ethics as:
to analyse the ways in which society as a whole deals with ethical issues.
consider how ethical codes of conduct are determined by many social
influences, including family, culture, religion, and work.
to understand the types of power that support different value systems.
to analyse positions taken and appraise social issues that involve complex ethical judgments.
consider issues such as animal rights; job discrimination; assisted
suicide; censorship; welfare and social justice; punishment; sexual
ethics; the ethics of social research; the mass media; privacy; and the
role of new technologies such as domestic and reproductive technology,
production technology, and military technology.
consider the origins and effects of repressive or unfair laws,
policies, and/or agreements in relation to minorities and less powerful
to research ways in which government, business, and community policies and practices relate to a particular ethical stance.
explore and contribute to the implementation of goals related to
ethical behaviour or to ecological and social sustainability.
identify and analyse ethical issues relevant to their own positions and
practices,and assess appropriate strategies to change these if
the work for your group is to select and engage in some way with a
group which addresses some of the aspects of social ethics listed above.
In regards to what social ethics actulally is, here is a definition
which may help your develop your thinking on ethics.
Ethics is a branch of philosophy
that involves examining concepts of right and wrong behaviour.
Generally it relates to dealing with values relating to human conduct,
with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to
the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that
prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights,
obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics,
for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable
obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander,
and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of
honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include
standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to
freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are
adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent
and well-founded reasons.
ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards.
As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from
what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's
standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics
also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral
beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the
institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable
As an example of an ethical cause I thought it was worth us considering is the Kony 2012
initiative. The cause is related to the campaign to gather support to
stop the human rights violations inflicted on the people, in particular
the children of Uganda by rebel leader Joseph Kony. The video called
Kony 2012 which is linked to on this blog is graphic and confronting in
parts and may upset some people. The Kony 2012 video.
The question for us to consider is: How is the Kony2012 an ethical cause?
The following quotes from the video certainly have an ethical flavour for us to discuss - what are the ethics involved in the Kony2012 initiative?
“Planet connection through technology.”
enables us to connect anywhere, anytime ... This connection is changing
the way the world works.” In short the video is highlighting the fact
that technology is making space diminish through the power of technology
leading to increased global interconnection.
“There are more people on Facebook today than there were on the planet 200 years ago.”
“Humanities greatest desire is to belong and connect.”
“Where you live should not determine whether you live?
“It is not just important for one people but for everyone to capture and stop Kony.
“Kony’s name needs to be everywhere.”
“Will use 20 culture makers to make Kony famous?
“Today the people of the world can see each other and can protect each other.”
“The power of media to mobilise the world to act.”
“To change the conversation of a culture.”
living in a new world, a Facebook world where 750 million people share
ideas, not thinking in borders, it’s a global community.”
Joseph Kony will prove that the world we live in has new rules, that
the technology that has brought our planet together is allowing us to
respond the problems of our friends – a place where children, no matter
where they live have a childhood, free from fear.”
For more information on the Kony2012 initiative go to:
As a footnote it is worth examining the controversy
surrounding this initiative in terms of the recent reports on the use
of funds, scamming accusations and the mental health of the film-maker
Jason Russell, the driver of Kony2012. A fascinating case study full of
ethical questions in relation to causes.