IDENTITY AND SOCIETY
In todays world a lot of decisions that we tend to make in our everyday lives are vastly influenced by the society we live in. The focal point of discussion in my essay will be about two very significant concepts, “structure and agency” and in particular how the structure concept had an immense impact on the life of “Inspector Makaye” who was working for The South African police Service in Chapter 12 of book “The Dirty Work of Democracy” by Altbeker,
The term “structure” means that human beings are limited in terms of the choices they make as well as the opportunities that they have in society. In such a case, we find that humans are subjected to the ways of society, hence they don’t really have a take on a lot of life’s patterns. Whereas “Agency” is different in the sense that individuals have the ability to act in an independent manner and make their own decisions as they please. (Elsa van Huyssteen.2003) The structure-agency debate can be argued as an affair of socialization against sovereignty in establishing whether an individual in society acts in a manner dominated by social structure or as a free agent.
The core duty of the police in the nation is protect the people living within the society as well as maintain law and order. A deeper dive into Chapter twelve of the book where Altbeker writes about Inspector Makaye’s attitude towards the job he did, gives us the perception that he was disconsolate with the circumstances that he was in at that time. Makaye usually mentioned to his colleagues that he could not stand the suffering of the ordinary policeman. He further talked about his state as a paltry man in society with a little salary after nearly thirty years of service. The most crucial factor that showcases Inspector Makaye’s negative attitude about his job, is that he was indignant of the fact that the black man in society was highly disadvantaged when it came to securing a promotion. It was unheard of for a black man to take on high positions in a job due to white superiority.
In this chapter we barely see any positive actions that Inspector Makaye did that justified the love he had for his job, he is viewed as an ‘’Embittered, ageing, black police officer” due to the fact that in all his years of service, he was unable to move to higher ranking positions in his career largely due to racial inequality. In as much as we do discern his hard work in terms of the duties and tasks that he had to perform as a police in ensuring law and order in society, his attitude also portrayed that had he another choice, he would not be a working for the government, it was his only resort and that is why he stayed working as a police for a long time.
One of the key structural forces which explain Inspector Makaye’s attitude in depth is race. This force is structural in the sense that it can be embedded in the institutions and structures of social life. Our view of society affects us as...