Before the Christmas holidays, the whole school went to the cinema to see the film Wall-E, as part of the year's theme on the future. In the continuity, the students of the second year were inspired by a sociological analysis of Wall-e to make an analysis of a film of their choice. Discover some examples in this article.
Avatar by Liam Commodore
Sociology in Avatar - Liam Commodore
With the Avatar storyline being one of my all-time favorites and it just coming out with a new movie, I found this the best time to choose this film as my socialization analogy movie. When it comes to talking about social systems, Avatar mainly shows what human social systems have always been like: imperialism. What makes the movie even better is its fascinating scenes with beautiful landscapes as well as an absorbing, deep, touching, perfect and well thought out structured story.
The Sully family life is shaken to the core as humans return to Pandora to seek retribution. To the couples’ (Jake Sully and Neytiri) absolute shock and horror, they see a fleet of human spaceships landing on the Pandoran wilderness and purging vast areas of forest. Once again, humankind builds its stronghold on the purged land and resumes Pandora’s colonization. A year has passed since then, and we are re-introduced to Quaritch, now in his new “recombinant” form. It turns out that Quaritch and some of his followers were reanimated after death. Their consciousness was transferred to a cloned Avatar body, and as a result, in their new form, they have all the memories of their past life up to their death. Quaritch is briefed about the present situation of the re-takeover of Pandora and the fact that Jake is leading guerrilla attack squads to squander human efforts. Quaritch swears vengeance as he decides to kill Jake and prepares to lead his troop in an attack on the Omaticaya clan.
What is the protagonist’s path?
Jake Sully follows the path of least resistance in life. That being, fleeing rather than fighting. He decides to move far away from his home in order to protect his family and the rest of his clan.
Pandora (the planet that the movie takes place in), is a world with many groups/clans of avatars that live according to where their home is. ex. the jungle Na’vi clan (Jake Sully’s clan) lives in the jungle. Therefore, they are experts at skills that concern them the most, such as being comfortable with moving in trees, bonding and controlling certain animals, and knowing how to hunt for specific animals. As a result, the clans aren’t open to combining and expanding because to them, other clan members are useless in their habitats. Most of the socialization throughout the first and beginning of the second movie is primary; which occurs when a child learns the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate to individuals as members of a particular culture.
While the Avatar race focuses on having many different social systems, the antagonist humans focus on developing one big institution on the planet of Pandora with the goals of ultimately shifting from Earth to Pandora.
However, the secondary socialization structure is the most present structure in the second film. The Sully family joins the reef Na'vi, they need to adapt to their way of living. They do that by separating into a smaller group within a larger society to adapt to the new clan. when arriving, they are met with multiple obstacles of new challenges such as
learning how to control their breath, creating bonds with the animals that are present in the ecosystem, learning primal living skills such as hunting, and more.
With the secondary socialization structure being the most present, we should not take away or push off the importance of the primary socialization structure in the film. Jake Sully is shown as a major role model for his two sons. With them following and learning his every move in combat, their father hopes to see them take his position one day.
The most important aspect of a movie is its message to society. With Avatar 2 making references to many current social problems there are one or two that stand out to me the most.
The first one being the problem of climate change. As said before, the humans come to Pandora in hopes of finding land to build a new society, the reason for that obviously being that planet earth is coming to an end. by having them be the main antagonists in the movie can connect back to real life on earth and its main antagonists, humans. This is important because the movie uses its story to help make the audience realize what they are actually doing to the planet. The second message is certainly about imperialism in the sense that the way human history has always worked is that people with more military or technological might tend to supplant or destroy people who are weaker, usually for their resources.
The protagonist’s main values
Throughout Jake Sully’s life as a Na’vi, his primary values have slightly shifted. originally, he shows the value of protecting what’s yours and supporting your family, however, as shown in the second movie when he moves him and his family out to the other side of the planet; you can infer that his value has shifted to just protecting his family.
Personal point of view
With the movie being extremely relevant in the modern world by including messages on global warming and pollution. There isn’t much improvement that I personally see that should be made on the movie's themes. However, with it being a movie from the 21st century, I think the lack of inclusion of lgbtq+ characters is erratic and could have been included.
All in all, I found the social aspect of Avatar extremely interesting and especially the messages presented in the movie grab me the most with them being relevant and necessary today.
Matrix by Samuel Atack
Sociology in The Matrix - Samuel Atack
The Matrix is a film that presents a dystopian future where humanity is under threat from intelligent machines. The machines have created a simulated reality called the Matrix, in which human minds are kept occupied while their bodies are used as an energy source. The film's protagonist, Neo, is a computer programmer living in the Matrix who begins to suspect that something is not right with the world. He is eventually contacted by a group of rebels who reveal to him the truth about the Matrix and offer to free him from it. Neo is initially sceptical, but after being captured by agents of the Matrix and witnessing their powers firsthand, he decides to join the rebellion. He is trained in the use of his powers within the Matrix and becomes a powerful warrior against the machines. As he becomes more involved in the rebellion, Neo must confront the true nature of the Matrix and his own role in the war against the machines. He ultimately discovers that he is "The One," a prophesied figure who is destined to bring an end to the Matrix and free humanity from its control.
Previous research discusses how the Matrix trilogy can be interpreted as a reflection of modern society and its theme of alienation. The author argues that the concept of the "Matrix" in the film represents the all-pervasive yet invisible presence of alienation in modern life and how it affects people's lives and perceptions of reality. The article also explores how the trilogy reflects different aspects of social theory, including Marx's critique of alienation and Weber's concept of the "iron cage." The author suggests that the trilogy can be seen as a commentary on the alienation that accompanies industrialization and how it shapes modern society. The article concludes that the trilogy serves as a social theory in its own right, as it illustrates the paradoxes of modern existence and the impact of alienation on all areas of social life.
The Matrix is arguably one of the best films ever made, it introduces the concept of bullet time and its sales reached 467.2 million US dollars. It is a first given that it starts to critique society instead of just following the usual “stereotypical” story plot. However, some critics have pointed out that the film's portrayal of race and gender is problematic. One of the main characters, Morpheus, is portrayed by a black actor, but the majority of the main characters in the film are white, and the only other major characters of colour are depicted as enemies or sidekicks. Additionally, the film's female characters are often sexualized and their roles are limited in comparison to the male characters. Despite its revolutionary visual effects and thought-provoking storyline, The Matrix has faced criticism for its lack of diversity and representation.
The film presents a worldview that focuses on the dangers of social systems and the importance of speaking out against conformity. The protagonists in the film are Neo and the group of rebels who help him and train him to use his powers within the Matrix to fight against the machines. The main antagonism in the film is between Neo and the machine social system, as Neo wants to get rid of the Matrix while the machines want to keep it. The socialisation structures in the film are depicted differently in the virtual world of the Matrix and the "real" world where the machines are. In the Matrix, the socialisation structures are similar to those in our current society, but in the real world, there are no institutions and the few members of the rebellion live and work on ships that travel around the world. This means that their socialisation occurs both at home and in the workplace.
One of the central themes of the film is the choice between following the path of least resistance in a comfortable, simulated reality or fighting for one's freedom, even if it means facing great danger and hardship in the real world. This choice is represented by a red pill and a blue pill, with the blue pill allowing the user to continue living in the Matrix and the red pill acting as a tracking device in the real world to locate the person's body and allow them to be "unplugged." Neo ultimately chooses to step off the path of least resistance and take the red pill.
The main value of the main character, Neo, is change. He wants to change the artificial world of the Matrix into a real one, and his name itself means "change." The message of the film is one of speaking out against conformity and choosing to do the right thing, even if it is not the easiest option. It encourages individuals to question the systems and structures that control their lives and to strive for freedom and autonomy, even if it means facing great challenges and hardships. The film serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of blindly accepting the status quo and the importance of standing up for what is right.
In conclusion, The Matrix is a film that presents a dystopian future where humanity is under threat from intelligent machines. The machines have created a simulated reality called the Matrix, in which human minds are kept occupied while their bodies are used as an energy source. The film explores themes of social systems, choice, and power, as the protagonist, Neo, chooses to fight for his freedom and the freedom of humanity against the oppressive machine system. The main value of the main character, Neo, is change, as he wants to change the artificial world of the Matrix into a real one. The message of the film is one of speaking out against conformity and choosing to do the right thing, even if it is not the easiest option. Overall, The Matrix offers a thought-provoking and action-packed exploration of the human experience in a world controlled by technology.
Batman by Shafay Akhtar
Sociology in Batman - Shafay Akhtar
The Dark Knight trilogy is my favorite movie trilogy ever. It’s perfect, down to the last atom because of how well it was choreographed. When it comes to sociology it aims at exposing the classes and the corruption that the current system has. It also shows the social classes and how a lot of the extremely powerful people are blinded when it comes to the harsh reality of life for most people. I felt like there was no other trilogy that could have made me love it while delivering a political message (which is saying a lot considering the fact that I typically don’t enjoy politically themed films). This trilogy also has absolutely beautiful philosophies which makes it even better. In this analysis I would be breaking down the dark knight trilogy(except “The Dark Knight Rises”).
Batman Begins (2005)
Billionaire Bruce Wayne moves to Asia after his parents are assassinated, where he is taught how to battle evil by Henri Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul. This is an example of primary socialization because Bruce Wayne is taught by a small group/peers. When Bruce learns that Ducard wants to eradicate evil in Gotham City by wiping out the whole city, he stops it in its tracks and returns to his house. Back in his home environment, Bruce adopts the appearance of a bat to terrorize corrupt officials and criminals as the symbol known as "Batman." The main Protagonists of this film are Bruce Wayne, Rachel Daewes, and Batman. The main antagonists being Ra’s Al Ghul, his ally Henri Ducard and The Scarecrow. The conflict that is the center of this film is Bruce’s struggle between justice and revenge. The world view is primarily individualistic even though we do get moments of the societal view.
We also get to know what are the values of the main protagonist (Bruce Wayne) which are courage as he decides to overcome his fear of Bats; He also gets a sense of justice later in the film where he learns that taking revenge isn’t serving justice; He’s third value would be temperance as during the course of the film it becomes clear that he has a very strong mind is a moderate person.
The main message of this film is in a quote given by Rachel Daewes to Bruce Wayne when she looks at Bruce being a complete fool and then when bruce tries to tell her that this isn’t what he is inside and she responds "It is not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.” Bruce took this quote personally as then he goes on to actually do things that define him. He decided to become Batman and then fought against corruption but this quote really set the tone of the film. He basically goes on to take another quote straight to the heart which is “Faith without work is dead.” (Bible, James 2:14).
Bruce Wayne and Gotham:
Early on in the film a young Bruce Wayne witnesses his parents getting murdered 1 meter from him. By going through this traumatic experience, when he gets older he wants justice and he thinks he’ll get justice when he kills the killer, where he’s completely destroyed in a debate against Rachel. He then meets Falcone who starts it all really when he said “Now, you think, because your mommy and your daddy got shot, you know the ugly side of life, but you don't. You've never tasted desperate. You're... You're Bruce Wayne, The Prince of Gotham. You'd have to go a thousand miles to meet someone who didn't know your name. So don't come down here with your anger, trying to prove something to yourself.” Right after this he goes out and throws away all his money(in his wallet) and decides to live the ugly side of life. Seeing the uglier side of Gotham is what led Bruce Wayne to become Batman. Gotham is corrupted to the point that you can’t even trust the S.W.A.T team. The thing with Gotham is that the state of Gotham has no legitimacy so the legitimate use of violence doesn’t even exist, it’s basically in a war against itself.
Incomes, Bruce Wayne who meets Ra’s Al Ghul and Henri Ducard who helps him learn to conquer his fear bats. When he says “To conquer fear, you must become fear, you must bask in the fear of other men and men fear most what they cannot see.” it becomes clear that Bruce Wayne will become Batman. Remember, Bruce Wayne had Chiroptophobia(fear of bats) and still he decides to become Batman basically using the thing that he’s the most scared of to fight corruption and evil. He uses the darkness to hide himself just like a bat and as Henri Ducard said “men fear most what they cannot see.” he hides and absolutely terrifies his enemy even before they see him, I mean it’s game over even before the game has started. He stops Gotham from destroying itself at the end and he hopes that things get better in Gotham. The answer to this is in The Dark Knight (2008).
Society, Social classes and Roles
In this film it’s clearly shown that fear is a source that can destroy entire societies. As The Scarecrow tried to destroy Gotham with his fear toxin which showed people things they fear the most. If not treated quickly it is fatal. It demonstrates also that people tend to not face their worst fears which is why The Antagonist used fear as his way to destroy gotham. Batman Begins also reflects on what happens in real life. In this film we see corrupt powerful men who are at the top of the classes using the majority which are low class men. For example, Falcone gives people with no money food, shelter and money and then these people work for Falcone. With the money he has and the power he has he can “buy” people of any class in the societal hierarchy.
This film also shows us the social classes and roles that are in Gotham. We get to see the beautiful and the ugly side of Gotham which are both shown by Bruce Wayne. The ugly side is demonstrated by Bruce right after the conversation with Falcone earlier in the film where he throws all his money away to see what it is like living as the minority. Here he finds out the corruption in Gotham. By learning this, he makes it his primary goal to target the high social class villains in hopes to end this corruption. It is near impossible to find someone to trust. So, even roles/jobs that you normally trust aren't trustworthy like the police. In this film the only policeman Batman trusted was Lieutenant Gordon. Also, as explained previously; we see corruption in play through Falcone through powerful men who are at the top of the social class using the minority to do their work. This is also the reason why Batman is the hero of this film and Gotham. Batman doesn’t belong in this corrupt system.
Ideologies are also shown in this film, the most interesting being the one of Ra’s Al Ghul. Ra’s Al Ghul symbolizes fascism and believes in killing people who “do not deserve to live.” If we go back to the history books, Ra's Al Ghul’s methods allude to those of Hitler’s. Hitler’s smear campaigns included talking about how the society needed to be “cleansed” of Jews. Furthermore, Hitler had a way of doing this. He created a personality for himself and all his soldiers, including a uniform for anyone who wished to join him. When we compare it to Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Shadows we see that it stood for cleansing nations, cities, and places of people who they didn’t think deserved to live.
The Dark Knight (2008):
To better understand the plot, you must know the meaning behind the title “The Dark Knight”. The “Dark Knight” part references what Batman does in the movie; he attempts to do the good thing but does it in a questionable way. Batman has been successful in keeping a tight lid on crime in Gotham City thanks to the assistance of allies Lt. Jim Gordon and DA Harvey Dent. However, when an evil young criminal going by the name of the Joker suddenly throws the community into chaos, Batman has to walk a thin line between heroism and vigilantism. In this film we have 3 main protagonists Bruce Wayne/Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and DA Harvey Dent. The main antagonist being The Joker and a side antagonist being Harvey Dent’s Two Face.
Bruce Wayne keeps the same values as in the previous film whilst we have Harvey Dent who’s main value is having mutual support or connection with others. Finally, Joker’s main values are chaos, no empathy, persistent and fearlessness.
The main message of The Dark Knight is exposing the lies and deception in Gotham. Deception is the main tool of the Joker that he uses to do whatever he wants. He tricked the mob into thinking that he has any intention of killing Batman, while everyone else is working in delusion he goes ahead and decides to have fun with the Gotham police. Lies is also one of the main tools used by Joker. The opening sequence showed how he uses lies to manipulate people by allowing his crew to believe that they’ll get a bigger share by killing their partners. When the joker tells Batman “You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble, they're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other.”. He was proven right when Joker planted bombs on two cruise ships, one filled with Harvey Dent’s most wanted criminals and the other with civilians. Both of the ships had a detonator which would blow up the other ship and if none of the two boats had blown in 15 minutes Joker would have done it himself. Both of the boats agree that they should press the detonator but then no one was able to push that button and take the blame for it.
Characters and The Evolution of Batman
“I believe whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger” - Joker. The film’s protagonist might be Batman but this film’s “star” is “The Joker”. What makes him so good is that he isn’t like the usual criminals; he doesn't have any reason to do it; he just does it because he wants to. He is best described by Alfred who says: “Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” - Alfred Pennyworth. The only thing that drives him is his will to destroy Gotham. Gotham was getting order and he’s the disorder in Gotham. He even at one point shows us that Batman’s “vigilante justice” is just an escalation of crimes. The joker describes himself as a “agent of chaos”. On the surface he looks like a psychopath and he is one but only in his behavior but the way he understands human behavior is never seen in a villain. He doesn’t want to kill Batman because that would just bring more vigilantes. He wants to make Batman quit his job.
“You Either Die A Hero Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain.” - Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent is Gotham’s White Knight. He does the right thing the right way and in the beginning of the rising action in the film he imprisons almost all of the mobs in Gotham. He thinks that he can even take up the mantle of Batman which Bruce Wayne even approved of. Under his leadership Gotham starts to become better but then Joker happens. Joker is the creator of Harvey Dent’s Two Face. Basically, after Joker burns half of Harvey Dent’s face and kills Rachel(who he loves), Harvey becomes Two Face and decides to basically flip a coin to decide if the person who helped Joker kill Rachel should live or not. That’s why the quote at the start is important because he lived long enough to become a Villain.
"He's Not Our Hero. He's A Silent Guardian, A Watchful Protector, A Dark Knight." - Commissioner Gordon. In this film we see Bruce Wayne in his prime in every single way. He’s in the best physical form of his life and in terms of the suit. During the whole course of the film he thinks that Joker is your typical criminal despite Alfred giving him several warnings he still tried to look for what The Joker wanted. It’s only after the conversation that he had with The Joker that he realized that Joker is a real life chess puzzle. This dialogue proves it: JOKER: “Kill you? I don't wanna kill you. What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No. No. No! No you- you complete me.” BATMAN: “You're garbage who kills for money.” JOKER: “Don't talk like one of them, you're not. Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're a freak. Like me. They just need you right now.” Only after this is he able to understand joker’s philosophy and understands that it is never so simple with him. At the end Bruce Wayne takes the blame for Harvey Dent’s(Two Face) murder and says that he is the one who killed Harvey and the people that were actually killed by Harvey. This shows that he is going against himself as in Batman Begins he thinks that the people should know the truth but in this film he realizes that sometimes a lie is better than the truth.
Sociology in This Gotham
“Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?” - Joker
The movie starts off with a bank heist showing that Gotham is still corrupt but less corrupt. The way the people of this city acted in this film was like “I chose my path, you chose the way of a hero and they found you amusing for a while the people of this city. But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fall, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you.” - Green Goblin from The Spider Man(2002). At the start of the film we see that most people idolize Batman but in the climax they all absolutely start to hate him like he is the one who’s the main criminal.
Batman is an essentialist who believes in the good of all people. In contrast The Joker understands (like many sociologists) that our actions, behaviors and identities are dependent upon a particular social and historical context. Joker proves that reality is a social construction and that people are a blank canvas, ultimately becoming a reflection of the social cultural rules they have adopted which can alter based upon their own social, historical and political context, choices and experiences. The proof being his manipulation of Harvey Dent into Two Face and the vote of the people of Gotham clearly voting for the criminals on the ferries. The innate need to choose yourself first is an animal instinct that no one can ignore and is thus prevalent in humans as well.
We are also portrayed to the terrorism in Gotham in a different way then we already know. The idea is the same; Terrorism in any form or shape always has a cause at its core. Everything else revolves around it. Joker symbolized all this and more. His cause was to show Batman how the society, the system, the morals people had were all just a “bad joke.” He does it by doing the following:
He proved Batman was selfish too, because he chose to save Rachel over Harvey Dent. Joker corrupted Harvey by instilling in him his ideology. The third thing that he tried to show but couldn’t was that people, in general, are selfish. He couldn’t showcase it to Gotham not because people in Gotham aren’t selfish but because no one wanted to make themselves responsible for the destruction of a whole ferry full of people even though both of the ferries wanted to destroy each other.
A University Study and My Opinion
A study done by Brian Newby from the University of Delaware was very interesting. The title of this study was “Watchful Guardian or Dark Knight? The Vigilante as a Social Actor” written in July 2012. Watchful Guardian is a direct reference to commissioner Gordon who says “He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector” and by “The Dark Knight” he means someone who does the right thing but in a questionable way. The study talks about what a vigilante is, it’s different use in films and clarifies what it means.
In my opinion this is the best film trilogy to ever exist. It is insane how every single film is so connected with each other while being different like Day and Night. I am also going to say that The Dark Knight is one of my only 2 movies that I rate 10/10(the other being Fight Club). The way the antagonist is used in every single film is just poetry. Especially in The Dark Knight where The Joker is even argued to be “the hero” of Gotham it’s simply unimaginable. Batman Begins we have a conflict of ideologies. In The Dark Knight we have an antagonist who’s insanely complicated to decipher. In The Dark Knight the antagonist is driven by revenge. This trilogy is what I call “poetry if it was a film(trilogy).
The Dark Knight trilogy ultimately shows the aspects of society that have become so commonplace that they no longer disturb us. The occurrence of terrorist strikes does not surprise us. When countries fall into disarray, we don't seem to care.
It truly is a masterpiece that each of us needs to see at least once in order to fully appreciate it. We will still receive a glimpse of what it all means in a way we can grasp, even if we are not aware of all these sociological and psychological problems.
After all, one of the reasons we watch movies is for that very reason, to come across a brand-new object that we have never seen before. Just that
Wiki Targeted (Entertainment). (n.d.). CinemaSins Wiki. https://cinemasins.fandom.com/wiki/Green_Goblin
Christopher Nolan (Ft. Batman, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger & The-Joker) – The Dark Knight: Interrogation Scene. (n.d.). Genius. https://genius.com/Christopher-nolan-the-dark-knight-interrogation-scene-annotated
10 Best Joker Quotes From “The Dark Knight.” (2019, August 20). LiveAbout. https://www.liveabout.com/the-best-joker-quotes-from-the-dark-knight-327092
A quote from The Dark Knight. (n.d.). https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/638988-because-he-s-the-hero-gotham-deserves-but-not-the-one
Gonzalez, I. B. (2021, February 7). You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-either-die-hero-live-long-enough-see-yourself-barona-gonzalez
Phillips, D. (2012, May 12). Joker’s Best Moments. IGN. https://www.ign.com/articles/2008/09/18/jokers-best-moments
The Dark Knight (2008). (n.d.). IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/characters/nm0005132
Batman Begins (2005). (n.d.). IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372784/characters/nm0929489
Avatar by Ulysse Berra
Sociology in Avatar - Ulysse Berra
Na'vi people have strong community values, which are contrasted with human conquerors (AI-generated image)
Avatar, directed by James Cameron, is a science fiction film that explores the relationship between humans and the Na'vi, native inhabitants of the planet Pandora (or Eywa'eveng [ɛj.wa.ˈʔɛ.vɛŋ], as the Na'vi call it). The story takes place in a world where humans have colonized Pandora in order to mine a valuable mineral called unobtanium. The humans, who are technologically advanced, view Pandora and its resources as an opportunity to solve their own energy crisis, while the Na'vi, who have a strong connection to the natural world, resist the invasion of their land.
In this context, the story presents a tension between an individualistic worldview and social systems and institutions. The humans, who prioritize their own interests, value the individual's right to exploit natural resources for profit. On the other hand, the Na'vi, who live in a communal society, prioritize the well-being of the group and the natural world, valuing the interconnectedness of all living things.
The protagonist, Jake Sully, is a disabled former Marine who is given the opportunity to participate in the Avatar Program, replacing his late brother, which allows him to remotely control a genetically engineered body that looks like a Na'vi. The antagonist, Colonel Miles Quaritch, is the leader of the human military forces on Pandora and is determined to forcefully extract the unobtanium from Pandora at any cost. The conflict between Jake and Quaritch represents the antagonism between the individualistic values of the humans and the communal values of the Na'vi.
The socialization structures in the story involve both primary and secondary socialization. Jake, who was raised in human society, undergoes both primary and secondary socialization through his human family and peers, which causes him to eventually join the Marines. However, when he enters the Avatar Program, he is also subjected to secondary socialization through his contact with the Na'vi culture, language and people.
Jake's journey in the story is largely about his struggle with the path of least resistance laid out for him by human society. As a disabled veteran, he is given the chance to regain his mobility through the Avatar Program, but at the cost of participating in the colonization of Pandora. Initially, he follows the orders of the human forces and focuses on his own personal gain. However, as he becomes more immersed in Na'vi culture and forms relationships with the native inhabitants, he begins to question the values of his own society and ultimately chooses to align with the Na'vi and break free from the path of least resistance that was prescribed for him. This choice demonstrates the theme of the individual's ability to resist societal expectations and choose their own path in life.
The values of the main character, Jake, undergo a transformation throughout the story. Initially, he is motivated by personal gain and follows the orders of the human forces on Pandora. However, as he becomes more connected to the Na'vi and learns about their way of life, he begins to adopt their values of respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all living things.
The main message of Avatar is a commentary on the consequences of individualistic values and the exploitation of natural resources. The story portrays the negative impact that the human forces have on Pandora and the Na'vi, and ultimately suggests that a more balanced and respectful approach to the natural world is necessary for the well-being of both individuals and society.
Previous research has explored themes such as the relationship between humans, the Na'vi people and nature, as well as the insight it provides into issues such as colonialism, but one particular aspect that I found interesting is its portrayal of the White man as a savior to indigenous people, such as the Na'vi, continuing to propagate harmful stereotypes about the exploitation of native Americans or other indigenous people.
Overall, I personally found the movie very entertaining. It was just the right mix of action-packed science-fiction and societal reflection to allow you to be entertained and fascinated by the special effects and other cinematic elements, but also give you the opportunity to reflect about it after watching it. I do find it could (and should) have portrayed the Na'vi in a way other than just the poor indigenous people colonized by White men, but in the end, saved by another White man.
In conclusion, Avatar can be used to illustrate the importance of sociology in understanding the relationships between individuals and society and the values that shape their actions. The film highlights the tension between individualistic and communal values and the consequences of choosing one over the other. It also demonstrates the role of socialization in shaping the beliefs and values of individuals and the impact that these values can have on society.
1 - Paul R. Ketchum, David G. Embrick, and B. Mitch Peck, “Progressive in Theory, Regressive in Practice: A Critical Race Review of Avatar,” Humanity & Society 35, no. 1–2 (February 2011): 198- 201,https://doi.org/10.1177/016059761103500110.