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Observation Assignment #2

In Observation Assignment #1 you spent 10 minutes observing yourself,


your perceptions and how your brain processed them (this closely resembles
a meditation state referred to as mindfullness). In reading the introduction
to Horowitzs book On Looking: A Walkers Guide to the Art of
Observation, you were introduced to the idea that people have different
lenses, personal and professional, through which they see the world.
This exercise is for you to assume a specific course relevant lens. Choose a
place with a significant human presence, for example a mall, a stretch of
street with some pedestrian activity or a stretch of a MAX commute. Were
going to be watching humans, so you need them to be present. With
notebook in hand, spend the next ten minutes recording indications of
Class. You may find it helpful to move around, or you may be able to sit for
a while and let the world pass you by. Signs of Class could include clothes,
cars, advertisements, grooming, or behaviors such as voice, gait or
expressions. The list is long and open to debate.
In the film, People Like Us, the narrator notes that we arent supposed to
have class distinctions in America, so you may feel some discomfort in
making these distinctions. For the purpose of this exercise, during your
observation gathering stage, try and set your moral qualms to one side and
record what you think people would consider as class indications, even if
you personally would not use these criteria. Youre a social scientist observer,
not a snobby critic.
When you have finished your observations, look them over and see if you
notice any particular trends. Write a response what you have observed. Link
what youve seen to the readings and the social class video. Berger and
Luckmann is an easy connection, but you may also consider how we
normally process these indicators. Are you consciously aware of them? Do
they have an influence of the subconscious/emotional response people have
to others? What about power? Does class have an influence on the ability of
one individual to affect the choices/behavior of another?
You may conclude with a more personal reflection. Is class or can class be
just a matter of being around the people who share your experiences and
values? If we live and grow up in a society for which class is an established
(objectivated) social construct, can we decide whether we accept it, ignore it,
reject it? Is it not there if we choose not to see it? Can social constructs be
renovated? How?

Ill look for about a page and a half of reflection. Due Nov 6.