The idea of progress is in its simplest form the idea that advances in science, technology, and social organization can subsequently improve human conditions regarding the quality of life and social advancement via modernization, economic development, as well as scientific progress, which entails the application of science and technology. However, the assumption that the process will happen lies in the belief that people will apply their skills and reason. The idea of progress emerged during the Enlightenment in the 18th Century, when significant movements, such as the Diderots Encyclopedia, which was important in carrying out a campaign against superstition and authority, as well as the period defining the French Revolution. In essence, during the 18th and 19th Centuries, all literate people in Europe and North America accepted the desirability and existence of progress (Hazard, 1963). However, before the Enlightenment, the North American culture, as well as most cultures I the world never considered the idea of progress, rather, people viewed life from a static dimension. However, after the enlightenment era, the North American Culture has to a large extent believed in the concept of progress. In this paper, I shall talk about aspects of the North American culture that have promoted the belief of the idea of progress.
The growth in knowledge of science and history has led to a realization that the North American culture and human life were unchanged over the centuries before the Enlightenment. In effect, after 1750, most Westerners, including North America embraced the idea of progress for humanity. For instance, regarding technology, there has been constant advances. For example, it all started with big computers that were not easy to use, and most of them used machine language. However, with progress, the hardware used for computers have increasingly become faster, lighter, and smaller, signifying the advantage of progress. In the 1990s, there were no smartphones, but to date, nearly everyone uses smartphones. In essence, this shows how North American culture has embraced progress. For this reason, communication and media, which is a key sociological theme, has made progress over time. In the 19th century, only the radio was mostly used, but after the invention of television sets, people started to audio and picture in their television sets. As such, the North American culture has significantly portrayed progress in the communication sector. Also, media has grown from a national, regional, to an international dimension, which is clearly evidenced by news networks in the North American culture, such as CNN. Besides TV and radio, the North American culture has also embraced social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter were developed in North America. Therefore, the North American culture has appreciated the concept of progress.
Regarding gender issues, there have been vital steps taken in the North American culture that has signified the idea of progress. For instance, men were the only breadwinners in the family in the early 20th Century. However, with time, this concept has been left behind as women can now compete with men for white-collar jobs. In addition, military jobs were seen as primarily meant for men. However, the current state of the North American militaries highlights the availability of women professionals. For this reason, the idea of progress has been evidenced by the fact that jobs, which were originally meant for men, are currently being done by both genders (Fuchs, 2013). Also, men, who apparently were hardly involved in nurturing children, are currently taking a huge stake in the role. It was seem like womens responsibility, but now it can be performed by both genders. As such, there has been changes in families and the sexual division of labor. Regarding issues of same-sex marriages, which were loathed an unlawful, they have currently gained huge backing as they have been legalized. In addition, there has been progress made on gender socialization, which refers to the range of social processes via which men and women learn their respective gender roles. In essence, in the North American culture, socialization takes place in daycare centers, media, schools, and families (Wajcman, 2000). For instance, in advertising, female and male advertisements are different. Female advertisements depict women by focusing on domesticity while male adverts focus on work. In essence, adverts for cleaning products are mainly directed towards women while those featuring fitness products, cars, and tools, are usually focused towards women. It can be derived that indeed socialization has affected advertising. As such, this also provides grounds that there has been progressing as far as gender issues are concerned in the North American culture.
There has also been progressing made in the relations between human and nonhumans. For instance, animals, including pets have had a closer relation with humans. In essence, children can play with puppies and cats. It was not a common practice in the early last century. Even animals have rights, as there are laws that prohibit the mistreatment of pets. In addition, North American culture has also embraced the use of robots, which assist in the basic configuration of domestic practices. For instance, robots which are more effective and efficient are used in designing of appliances. I addition, when it comes to delegating, humans can give tasks to these robots. For instance, in the kitchen environment, they can be used for chopping, slicing, and grating, which were tasks that were previously performed solely by humans. Even some robots can mimic human behavior and prepare food perfectly. Besides, humans have delegated responsibility to safely operate machines, especially in the manufacturing environment, such as welding. In addition, robots can also perform tasks such as diffusing bombs or going to potentially harmful environments, such as collection of samples from Mars, which is a project managed by NASA. For this reason, the North American culture has embraced change and progress, especially in the relation with non-humans. These relations were not available early last century, meaning that progress has been made.
Regarding consumption, there has been progressing, especially regarding matters of advertising and marketing. In essence, these aspects were hardly capitalized on in the last century. However, with the rise of consumerism in the North America culture, companies are increasingly adopting these strategies. In essence, with the progress made in the information technology sector, companies are increasingly using the social media platforms as a strategy to market their products and services. There are social distinctions with various age groups being targeted in the social media, and thus, companies can target their goods and services to specific demographics, and in effect, the organizations realize profits. In addition, consumption has been sensitized, at least from a health perspective. Diseases have been linked to the way of life and products should also adhere to regulations set by the relevant authorities. As such, there has been progress made in the North American context on consumption of goods and services, as dictated by health regulations, marketing, and advertising.
The status of women has changed significantly. Women are no longer degraded in the North American context. They are exposed to similar opportunities to men (Faulkner, 2001). A good example is a presidency. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat president nominee is on the verge of winning the election, which means that there has been a significant progress as currently women have gained more respect. In addition, women have become more assertive and aggressive in career opportunities, which is something that was downplayed in the last century. Therefore, this is clear proof that indeed the North American culture believes in the concept of progress.
Lastly, the North American culture has appreciated modernization. Technology is being used in every aspect of the socio-economic paradigm. Socially, as discussed before, technology has allowed socialization between both genders and has been capitalized by organizations, which brings in the economic concept of progress in place. Also, in the military developments, there has been tremendous developments since 2nd World War. There has been the application of technology in the military, such as the use of drones among other aspects. In addition, the Department of Defense operates the Global Positioning System in the Military. The GPS system has also gained application in the transport sector. Therefore, application of technology has gained numerous applications in the North American culture. It can be concluded that after the Enlightenment era, the North American Culture has to a large extent believed in the concept of progress.
Faulkner, W. (2001, February). The technology question in feminism: A view from feminist technology studies. In Women's studies international forum(Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 79-95). Pergamon.
Fuchs, G. (2013). Strategic litigation for gender equality in the workplace and legal opportunity structures in four European countries. Canadian Journal of Law and Society/Revue Canadienne Droit et Societe, 28(02), 189-208.
Hazard, P. (1963). European Thought in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Meridian Books.
Wajcman, J. (2000). Reflections on gender and technology studies: in what state is the art? Social studies of science, 30(3), 447-464.
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