The essay will focus on the way people make or remake their lives by using two key strands namely connecting lives and ordering lives as well as ordering lives backed up by appropriate pieces of evidence or examples along with theories of connecting lives and ordering lives. Also, the essay will aim to explain the different constraints in making choices to make or remake their lives as people's lives are dynamic.
The claim – In brief
The claim that people face a range of both choices and constraints in making and remaking their lives straightforwardly implies that how people choose to be connected or disconnected to their environment or society and in the process of making choices, people experience constraints due to various factors such as inequalities concerning gender, ethnicity, and class. These choices allow the person to be in society by making and remaking their lifestyles, behaviour, and culture.
Connecting lives refers to people's experience through connecting with others or the society through their activities and society to make and remake their lives. The main aim of connecting lives is broad as it covers the set of thoughts about the main question of social science which includes – how society is made and remade and how there are inequalities in society etc and thus this concept of connecting lives have duly supported the claim of people face a range of both choices and constraints in making and remaking their lives by connecting and disconnecting people from their lives (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 173).
Approach to connecting lives
This has been evidenced by Goffman’s dramaturgical approach where to be connected to society; people play certain roles to prove their identity such as gender and caste by sharing personal details to be it a best friend or a role of a neighbour. These are the result of social interaction to make an impression to other people about whom they are or who they are acting to be. Therefore, according to this approach, social life is considered as drama as everybody in society has certain roles to play according to the individual scripts assigned.
This concept of connecting lives can be thus used for a range of choices in making and remaking the lives of the people. This can be illustrated with the help of various situations as to how the choices are made to make or remake the lives of a person in a particular way. These choices can range from migrating to a different place to sports as these create both connections and disconnections in the people.
Choices and constraints in connecting lives
The choices and constraints of the people to make or remake their lives for connecting lives can be illustrated with the help of the following examples i.e., Migration and sports where the factors of income, resources, and physical ability have caused constrained for the people as well as an option for the people to make choices.
The choice of migrating from one place to another is brought up by both in connecting with the new lives and disconnecting from the lives of the previous places. According to NHS, it is a two-way process of connection and disconnection where an example of a medical practitioner who was migrated from various countries and due to this there is an enhancement in the medical services as various skilled workforce working for the NHS and therefore, the labour migrants form an important part of the country's prominent health institution. Hence, it can be said that the choice of migrating to a new country or a new place can result in a connection of lives (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 130). However, there is a constraint for a migrant who is less educated with limited options to survive in a foreign country is subject to exploitations and failed hopes. From this situation, it can be concluded that people who have resources and education can connect very well with the new society and people who have limited resources and less education faces a disconnect with society.
The other example that we can consider while analyzing the connection and disconnection of lives that can affect the people's choices to make or remake their lives is sports which helps in connecting people as there is a huge fan following and contributes to the larger part of the economy (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 45).. Also, it covers a larger part of the media space and the sporting mega-events such as the Olympics which are a must to watch. These all features help in connecting lives. However, it also creates disconnection in society because of unequal physical appearances and the competition in sports which limits the chances of getting successful for those who have limited resources. For example, the establishment of Paralympics for disabled people and sports like Polo which are associated only with upper-class people.
Ordering lives refers to the social order or the patterns and shapes for the types of relationships and connections between people. In a broader sense, it is a connection between the people and different institutions working together to build a stable society. This concept of ordering lives is illustrated for the claim that people face a range of both choices and constraints in making and remaking their lives as the social order conveys the idea of system and structure of the society and the problem about the knowledge of previous behaviour to a particular situation. With that said, in the social order, people will behave more or less in a predictable way and when the behaviour is not as per the expectations, there is a complication in social lives. Hence, there is an option of choice when there is expected action from the society and there is a constraint when the expectations do not fulfil (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 371).).
Approaches to ordering lives
One of the theories formulated by sociologist Howard Becker is of labelling theory which analyses how social groups discover the meaning of people of deviant behaviour in the society. This approach investigates how the other selected people are perceived to be deviant and how some social groups develop an authority to enforce the label of being deviant to the selected groups of society (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 264).
Another approach in connection to the social order has been developed by Albert K. Cohen. One of the basic assumptions developed by Cohen is that most of the young criminals are part of social groups of criminal subcultures and according to Cohen, the criminal subcultures are due to the inequality and status problem in the society. Therefore, these theories formulated by Becker and Cohen conclude how the social disorder form a constraint in making and remaking of lives for a certain section of the people in society (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 270)
Choices and constraints in ordering lives
Some people can make or remake their lives through the choices they make and the social idea and practice which can constraints of the people to make or remake their lives. The below examples are discussed in context with ordering lives. For example, choices of the people to be near a good neighbourhood who are available at the time of need, a giver and who is minding his businesses can help people in making their lives and be around a noisy and not so social neighbour can be a constraint to the choices. Another example that can be used to demonstrate the choice and constraints caused due to certain sections of society which creates social disorders such as youth criminals due to various factors such as economic circumstances, personality traits, home life, etc.
Also, there is forced labelling by society groups which compel an individual to be excluded from the social order. Young people are generally prone to be portrayed as antisocial. For example, in the UK, a certain section of young men are termed as Yob and are hated and feared by the British people. In this case, the social power and media define the deviance to a certain section of society and thus create social disorder which results in constraints for people to make choices to make their lives (Clarke and Woodward, 2014, p. 271).
To conclude, the claim that people face a range of both choice and constraint has been demonstrated with the social concept of connecting lives and ordering lives. In the first section, the concept of connecting lives has been explained followed by approaches to connecting lives which have been explicitly heightened by evidence and examples as to how connecting lives and ordering lives can help in making choices and how these are affected by constraints that come up with both the concepts. Finally, proper examples have been cited concerning the choices and constraints that people face while connection, disconnection or social order, or social disorder.