Sociology 605 – Week 2 “Modern Liberal Individualism”

  • Maurice Friedman – discussed notion of “community”
  • By the way, Dr. Choi is publishing a book on community soon!
  • We have to stop making communities an abstraction. Don’t study communities as an abstract thing.
  • Just as people who get into relationships are making a commitment to each other, communities should work in the same manner.

Modern liberal individualism:

  • an impersonal way to see the world but this is the dominant view right now!
  • Communities of affinity – similarities (But a real community should be one of differences and diversity…!)
  • Treats society as free floating atoms that just bump into each other. (and school systems help to reproduce this kind of society. Making a sorting system!)

3 types of leader:

  • charismatic
  • traditional (divine right) – irrational
  • rational – legal (in the modern era, “legitimized authority”)
    • French Revolution was one of the renowned peasant revolution

With theories, we’re always making maneuvers. Leaning techniques is not the only education.

Consistency & validity – just because something is consistent, doesn’t mean it’s valid.

Bureaucracy: a way for us to justify and legitimize. and the reason that we’ve exchanged our humanity with it!

By the way: Hobbes said humans are evil by nature!

Good / Evil –> the idea that Good = good, evil = evil, therefore good does not = evil (the Western tradition has always run on this idea)


  • Society = good, individuals = profane
  • Then to go to heaven, we have to repress our humanness… gotta become anti-human to go to heaven!

Dr. Choi’s quotes:

  • We’ve just met, but we’ve always known each other. (meaning, because humans influence each other, you know each other even though you haven’t physically met each other before)


  • Reification – giving something a life of its own

Dr. Choi’s story:

  • he changed majors 4 times! first mechanical engineering, then forestry, then business & law, then sociology… in the last semester of his senior year!

Poor versus poverty… ideology and hegemony

Dr. Choi’s father – 서라벌 대학교 교수님이셨다고?

John Murphy – Dr. Choi’s mentor

As long as our society believes in dualism, we will always have discrimination and oppression.

So… the marginalization of gays, women, minorities… is all due to the same mechanism.

It is important to know the historical and philosophical roots of sociological ideas. For any academic field!

Recommended book:

  • Reiman’s Rich get richer, poor go to prison
  • Donald Palmer’s Looking at philosophy (animated book) a great book for learning about different philosophies easily!

Thaelis claimed that everything is made of water = essentialism.

  • and this notion is still used to describe a certain category of human.

Considering society as a tree with deep roots… so it cannot move… so perhaps bamboo is better?!

Society should be given a different imagery. Not body. Not machine.