Verstehen is back with a new batch of articles written by undergraduate and graduate students of Sociology and Anthropology! Let us flex our imaginations and explore everyday encounters using alternative lenses.
This issue has a bit of popular entertainment lined up for you, with an examination of an intriguing trend in the music scene, and a review of a movie many have anticipated. We are also bringing you some post-Yolanda/Haiyan musings that, we hope, will allow for a rethinking of our notion of charity and of how we deal with the environment.
What these articles have in common is their use of various sociological and anthropological perspectives in the attempt to understand the things we see, hear, and experience every day. One of the goals of sociology and anthropology, and indeed of this publication, is to encourage efforts to go beyond common sense in explaining social phenomena.
We are born into a culture and into patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. The world we experience is imbued with meanings that people are constructing and reconstructing in interactions with one another. And because we are privy to those meanings, social analysis should therefore come easy to us, right? What we may be unaware of is that our take on society is often nestled within the realm of common sense – the product of us living and breathing society.
Common sense has its dangers. In using common sense to explain social life, we tend to assume that our views are correct especially if we have experience of the phenomena we speak. We tend to privilege our own realities over other realities and other subcultures. Common sense explanations provide a narrow and limiting view of the diversity around us, and could lead to the creation and furthering of stereotypes and prejudices.
Going beyond common sense, beyond how we ordinarily see the world, is a step in being able to locate ourselves within a multiplicity of meanings and voices, and towards a broader understanding of why we are the way we are and why things happen the way they do. We hope that the series of articles in Verstehen’s “season two” would take you in that direction. Sit back, relax, and let your sociological imagination and anthropological curiosity soar.