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SOCIOLOGICAL CONCEPTS AND THEORY IN BLAZING SADDLESName
Institution
Introduction
Sociology, as well as the theories related to the field of societies, is conspicuous in films. The three main theories of sociology that are largely presented are structural functionalism, conflict theory, in addition to symbolic interactionism. So as to properly demonstrate how these theories are represented in movies, it is imperative to begin by understanding and having a working definition of the respective theories.
In structural functionalism, cultures are regarded as creatures with independent parts. The implication is that all features of society, or all people within a society, function as individuals with individual objectives, however only with the aim that those personal objectives become beneficial to the society as a complete organism. In this model, the perpetuation of social existence is reliant on consensus and collaboration among the various sections of society. Conflict is perceived as socially disparaging, and transformation is regarded negatively as an interference with the normal, right order of life. The implication is that concerning this theory if the sections of the whole are involved in a conflict and cease to work collaboratively to achieve the objectives of the community, the result could lead to the ultimate obliteration of the society. This theory explores social arrangements, their implications on society, and the way people fit into a social arrangement to create a whole referred a society (In Dunlap, 2001).

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Conflict theory views societies as competitions. A society’s individual characteristics are regarded to be permanently in opposition to, and always competing with, each other; with the victor attaining and receiving over and above the loser. According to conflict theory, the conflicting features of society decide on the regulations of the opposition, even though this is not necessarily the situation. Change is regarded not only as a constructive feature; it is considered as an unavoidable and required consequence of the competition essential in social existence. This theory scrutinises social patterns inside a society and endeavours to ascertain the opposing interests of society, in addition to ascertaining who receives the most benefits from particular social patterns and the way they retain the capability of benefiting over time (Dillon, 2010).
Symbolic interactionism views societies as platforms on which the individual characteristics of society are always carrying out their respective responsibilities that together lead to the creation of social drama. Social existence is reliant the individuals’ interpretation of the responsibilities they achieve, in addition to what people they are accomplishing that responsibility for at all times. Change is not considered as either inevitably positive or negative; nevertheless it is acknowledged as something that will eventually take place inside societies. This transformation takes place when people extemporise on the fundamental script that is allocated to the part they accomplish. The theory explores the different roles and endeavours to understand how individuals’ interpretation of them (Henslin, 2011).
Plot
The movie Blazing Saddles is nominally a western and seemingly the highest-grossing Western ever, according to financial reports. Hedley Lamarr, the State Procurer/Attorney General/Assistant to the Governor, played by Harvey Korman, is keen to build a railroad. The problem is, he wants to build it through the town of Rock Ridge, entirely populated by people whose last name is Johnson. There’s even a Howard. Needless to say, the townspeople, who all own their own land, would, at the least object, and if not, demand large amounts of money for their land.
A dastardly scheme is dreamt up to scare the townspeople away. The townspeople complain to the rather simple Governor William J. LePetomane, played by Mel Brooks, asking for a sheriff to protect them. Lamarr figures that the best way to solve the problem is to hire a sheriff that the townspeople would not accept. He is black, played by Cleavon Little. Bart, the new sheriff, has a difficult start in Rock Ridge. Fortunately, he is befriended by Jim, the Waco Kid. Between them, they set out to save the town of Rock Ridge, despite the obstacles placed in the way by Lamarr and his cronies (Brooks, 2004).
Symbolic Interactionism
One of the movies that demonstrate the theory of symbolic interactionism is Blazing Saddles, in which life is a platform on which different actors perform a social drama. In the movie, an immoral governor and attorney general are making an effort to ensure a railroad passes inside an existing town but encounter opposition from the black sheriff of the same town, who was the result of their appointment. The goals of the black sheriff are to protect the town, win the approval of the residents of the town, and avenge the governor and attorney general for mistreating him on the basis of his race. The black sheriff known as Bart manages to realize his goals by the end of the movie.
In no place is the theory of symbolic interactionism more predominant in this movie than in the actual premise of it. Bart, one of the characters, starts as a railroad employee, but due to the lack of contentment at his station and his position, he extemporises on the usually conventional role of a railroad employee and stands up to oppose his superiors. The action decides lands him in confinement, and would customarily have undergone execution with the exception of the fact that the governor and attorney general are naturally schemers. Rather than undergoing execution he is appointed as the sheriff of a town that the governor and the attorney general have the intention of destroying. Again, Bart challenges usual expectations by patiently enduring the deliberate racism demonstrated by the residents of the town, and in spite of overpowering odds can win some degree of respect from a section of the town population by accomplishing his responsibilities as the sheriff of the town. At one occasion, the sheriff has made the decision to extemporise on the script usually allocated to his place of work, and on a different occasion has made the decision to follow the script. All along he is depending on the people to whom he is demonstrating his role.
An act inside the movie that is also dominated with symbolic interactionism is the one in which Hedley Lamarr is trying to secure the services of villains for the demolition of Rock Ridge. The key concept concerning this scene is that all kinds of villains, hooligans, and all around bad people have decided to go to receive payment to partake in the raping of Rock Ridge. The crowd of people is complete with symbols envisioned to designate that they are qualified. Included are motorbike handlebars, concealments, and Klu Klux Klan attires. These are all promptly distinguishable through two characteristics. First, their mode of dressing and accessories. The second aspects concern they are attending a meeting meant for the ‘bad’ people. The scene is ready for crime, the symbols related to certain groups and counter values connected with bad behaviour are in existence, and the sociological relationship is made between the people in attendance and the responsibilities they are accomplishing.
A concluding instance of the concept of symbolic interactionism in the movie is shortened in one sentence by an additional character. Mongo, a cruel although soft spoken character associated with the wicked attorney general, says simply, “in a game of life, Mongo merely a pawn,” (Brooks, 2004). This is an illustration of the more profound sociological concept that the character senses that he is unable to break from the script that his responsibility in life has transcribed for him. It is necessary that he accomplishes the role of bully, of violence, of unselective demolisher since he does not know any other thing. The whole society understands his role to be that, and so he knows he cannot be anything else. Mongo’s devotion to the sociological writing meant for him is a glaring distinction between the improvisation done by Bart. Together though they act to demonstrate the theory of symbolic interactionism, and how the creativeness of persons can facilitate social transformation.
In conclusion, the movie is a perfect distillation of the concepts of sociology. It can help to exemplify not just the fundamental ideas of certain concepts, but how they may facilitate social transformation. Additionally, the movie is an illustration of the natural faults in devotion to any one specific social theory. The sociological concepts exemplified by these movies, and the way these films show them indicates the significance and the vulnerabilities both of transformation and of stagnation.
References
Brooks, M., Steinberg, N., Bergman, A., Uger, A., Pryor, R., Hertzberg, M., Little, C., … Warner Home Video (Firm). (2004). Blazing saddles. Burbank, CA: Warner Bros. Pictures.
Dillon, M. (2010). Introduction to sociological theory: Theorists, concepts, and their applicability to the twenty-first century. Chichester, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell.
In Dunlap, R. E. (2001). Sociological theory and the environment: Classical foundations, contemporary insights. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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