Now That’s Magic Too! The Structure / Action Debate

Not to leave sociologists out of the equation, Olson’s. research (Influencing choice without awareness, 2015) that looks at the tricks used by magicians to influence the choices made by their audience can also be used to illustrate the structure / action debate for students.

Just as the magician uses a variety of techniques to “force” their subject to choose the card they want them to choose, social structures can be seen as a “force” that influences our “free behavioural choices” – and the idea of “structural forcing” can be applied in a range of ways across the Specification.

In education, for example, you can use this idea to explore why males and females tend to take different subjects at a-level even though they apparently have a “free choice” of what subjects to study.

Alternatively you could use this idea as the basis for exploring why males and females have different levels of criminality, participate in different types of crime and the like.

Once students grasp the basic idea you can use it to explore how and why a wide range of apparently “free individual choices” are actually conditioned by our membership of social groups…

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