The Wave Group Theory

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This essay proposes to critically discuss the conflict between the two opposing student groups towards the end of the film “The Wave” in light of the structure agency debate. While this conflict can be analyzed under several themes such as historical background, the critical theme which will be analyzed is the affect of structure and agency in shaping social groups. The structure – agency debate question is to what extent people (social groups) are determined by social forces (structure) and to what extent do individuals choose their fate or life path (agency). There are many social forces at work in shaping both identity and society. Structure and agency are viewed as major social forces at work in shaping society. Through the course of this…show more content…
O’Donnell describes society as “consisting of individuals belonging to a group which may vary in size, for instance the family to the total population of a given area” (O’Donnell, 1992:2). He further claims that individuals in society may both affect certain groups and can also be affected by groups (O’Donnell, 1992). In the movie “The Wave” this is clearly demonstrated by the teacher’s experiment, where students are influenced by an individual to form a group named “The Wave”. Initially all the students comply enthusiastically to this new idea but as the movie progresses we see how the individuals are in turn affected by belonging to this group. At this point we observe hoe agency has influenced the structure and how structure has influenced the agency. Before we continue our critique we need to consider the concepts of identity, social; stratification and socialization as power social forces which ac t to shape the…show more content…
Hitler’s power to mobilize the masses and kill innocent people is another example of the power of agency to influence people to commit horrendous acts. We see how racism provided the excuse and rationalization of the genocide. In the movie “The Wave” we observe how students were eager to give up their freedom of will and individual right to feed their thirst for power and strength all this by the suggestion of their teacher. In the end the conflict is resolved when the students realize how they have been brainwashed and that their actions as a result, were determined by a false consciousness which blinded them to the reality of the situation. As Lemert explains people overcome false consciousness by “opening their hearts and eyes to the realities before them” (Lemert,

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