SOCIOLOGY TERM PROJECTA Day at Six Flags: Great Adventure
Amanda R.SOC 101Dr. Durso-Finley24 April 2007
THE THREE PERSEPCTIVES:ANALYSIS AND APPLICATIONSlides 3-8:Social ConflictSlides 9-15:Structural FunctionalSlides 16-21:Symbolic InteractionSlides 22-25:Application of Perspectives
society is a competition for power and resources
What are some of the power resources people at Great Adventure may be competing for?
To get on a ride as quickly as possibleAdmission to the free concertsTo be a volunteer at one of the shows (i.e. play with the dolphins)To be the winner of one of the Boardwalk Games, and thus, win a prizeTo get a good parking spotThe best seat on a water ride (the dry seat or the wet seat, depending on what you prefer)
Who has the power resources at Great Adventure?The parking lot attendants, who direct people to different areas of the parking lotSecurity, who has the power to pull people out of lineThe emcees/hosts of the different shows, who get to choose the volunteersThe population of people in the park, which can decide how quickly/slowly one can move about the parkThe workers, who run the rides and control the flow of thingsThe performers, who entertain the customers
Jesse McCartney, performing at GA
Who wants the power resources? Why?EVERYONE! But especially those who are in a hurry, or who have children, since they can become impatient. Also, overly competitive people want to win the games or be the first on line to fill their need to feel superior to the others competing with them. The employees and works need the power resources, because, say they couldnt run the rides or administer help to the injured, then there would be problems and cracks in the structure of the park.
Where/Why are they fighting about the power resources?They compete for the resources both in the park and in the parking lot.They are fighting because they want to go on as many rides as possiblewant to get to the car as quickly as they can once the day is overdont want their children to get too upset/impatientdont want to get soaked on the water rides/want to cool off on a hot daythey want to have/win prizes (possibly for the girlfriends, kids, etc.)they want to have the best experience they possibly can
How do they compete for the resources/Who is winning the struggle?The people who arrive as early as possible (They get: the best parking spots, best spot on line, etc.)The people with the most enthusiasm(They get to be volunteers, since they capture the emcees attention)The people with the most skill/luck(They win the Boardwalk Games)The people who walk/run the fastest(They get to rides earlier)
STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONAL:society works together as many parts that make up a whole
What are some of the structures involved with Great Adventure?EmployeesRide runnersMaintenanceCleaning crewPerformersFirst AidParking AttendantsEtc.Managers/OwnersCustomers
Jason Wade, the lead singer of Lifehouse, performing at GA
How do these structures work?The workersRun the rides/games/showsClean/maintain the park appearanceAllow customers admittance to the parkEntertain customersKeep/make sure people are safeFeed customersHandle legal/business/behind the scenes issuesThe customersProvide the income the park needs to survive (through their admission, purchases, etc.)Become audience members for shows/concerts
How do the parts work together as a whole?On one side of it, the works of the park must work together to keep everything running smoothly, to make sure that the customers are having the most enjoyable time possible. For example, the maintenance crew must repair the rides and make sure they can run so the ride operators can do their job to keep their job of running the ride efficiently and smoothly. If the ride operators didnt check the seatbelts, however, this would cause a problem for not only the first aid crew, but for the legal team, who would be faced with lawsuits. Therefore, everyone must do their part for the welfare of the park and the customers.On the other side, the families and people attending the park must do their part to have an enjoyable time amongst themselves, while working with the employees of the park. For example, a family must cooperate with each on deciding which rides to go on, etc. so that each person will be having fun. Parents must also look after their children, and if needs be, work with the security and/or first aid crew of the park. Therefore, the customers must be responsible with the people theyre with, work with them to make decisions, but also take the help of the employees of the park if they need it.
What place does Great Adventure hold in society?Great Adventure is a large source for entertainment in New Jersey. It is a place for families to go for a day vacation, adolescents to go with friends, but overall, it has something for everyone. The park is a venue for many performers, who perform in concerts. GA employs many young people in need of jobs. The park is a great source for a fun time, from the variety of rides and games for all ages, to free concerts, to the live action shows starring Batman, dolphins and much more!
What are some of the manifest, latent and dysfunctions of the structures within GA?Manifest:Entertaining customers (keeping them happy)Keep all areas of the park running safely, smoothly and cleanlyFeeding customers
Latent:Employing teensHelping find lost children/caring for injuriesTaking precautions for inclement weather/unplanned eventsClosing down many rides for maintenance/replacing rides
Dysfunctions:Possible deaths/severe injuries because of machinery malfunctionsHigh prices for food/merchandiseBad service
How do the structures adapt?Offer lower prices/discounts (for example, seasons pass, coupons on Coke cans)Add more rides/events to increase excitement/hype about the parkOffer special holiday events (i.e. Fright Fest)Collaborate with other companies toincrease marketing and advertisingGet big name performers to holdconcerts to increase population to the parkAdd/open more water rides to allow customers to cool off during a hot day (Open specialized parks/areas, such as Hurricane Harbor and the Safari)
SYMBOLIC INTERACTION:all communication and interaction in society is symbolic
What symbols are involved with Great Adventure?Map Symbols (for example, to indicate water rides, kid rides, bathrooms, etc.)UniformsFlash PassParking structures (i.e. signs to remember where you parked: A6, C2)Ride symbolsSigns the workers use communicatethat the ride is ready (i.e. a fist in the air)You must be this tall, No eating/drinking,Not for children
What do these symbols mean?
Does everyone agree on the meaning?Everyone must agree on the meaning because many of the symbols are there for the safety and well-being of those involved. For example, the ride symbols indicate who is allowed to go on the ride, depending on age, height, etc. not because GA is being selective, but to insure the safety of the passengers. Uniforms also help indicate who you can go to for help/assistance. Other symbols are there for functionality, they keep things running for smoothly and quickly. For example, the parking structures are there to help locate your car more quickly. The map symbols help you to move around the park efficiently. The Flash Pass is there for privilege. If you are willing to spend the money, then it is agreed upon by the employees and the customers that you move to the front of the line.Therefore, everyone agrees on these symbols because they are pre-existing and formal. The park put them there to create an understanding that they are trying to help the customer move around the park quickly and easily so they will have the best time possible.
How does the interpretation of symbols shape the way people interact with each other?The interpretation of these symbols makes interactions easier. For example, the employees and customers can interact better because the workers wear uniforms so they are easily identifiable. Ride symbols allow employees to work together effectually, since after one person buckles in the passengers, they gesture to the other person that everyone is safe, so the other person is able to start the ride. Working this way allows the rides to be run faster and safer. Also, map symbols make decisions within a group easier, because one half can go on one ride, but if the other half doesnt want to/cant go on that same ride, they can find another ride nearby that suits them. Map symbols also make it easier for parents, since they can quickly find a bathroom on the map instead of aimlessly searching for one in the park. The symbols make a day in the park easier for all, as they are able to easily navigate, find help if needed and just have a good time.
Are interactions changing on this issue?I do not think interactions are changing within the park because these symbols are pretty set in stone and have been around for a while. Customers go to the park with the anticipation of receiving a map and seeing people in uniforms, so they are used to/knowledgeable of the type of cooperative interaction they are most likely going to have.
APPLICATION OF PERSPECTIVES:using analysis in an interesting way
Possible Improvements to Great AdventureIdea #1: Have activities for birthdays/other special events. To make the child feel special, they can wear a special birthday GA shirt (as a symbol that they are the birthday boy/girl. To improve the structure of the party, the kids/people involved could participate and work together in a sort of scavenger hunt where they need to go on certain rides, find certain peopl