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How Society Precedes the Individual


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Examining the Venezuelan Election

Published in: News & Politics
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How Society Precedes the Individual

  1. 1. How Society Precedes the Individual
  2. 2. Fairly recently, Hugo Chavez has been re-elected for another six year term that staples his presidency in Venezuela. This is obviously an event that will affect millions of people within a society. Such an event will be communicated to the masses through many different media outlets.
  3. 3. • I have chosen three different newspapers that covered the Hugo Chavez’s re-election to examine through a communication perspective. I have articles from the NPR, CNN, and LA Times.
  4. 4. • The theory of Society precedes the individual will be used to understand these different media sources.
  5. 5. • The theory explains that there must be social relationship with society that produces individual behavior. I felt this was an appropriate perspective because of the relationship an election has on the society and the individual.
  6. 6. • Let’s start off with the article from LA Times “Venezuela President Hugo Chavez wins election, officials say”. This article begins with the fact that Hugo Chavez wins by convincing voters to vote for him. These voters are of the lower class and allow him to maintain office even with problems such as a flaccid economy, rising crime, and polarized society that scissors through the country. This is an interesting way to begin the article. Even though the economy is not doing well, crime is increasing, and there are conflicts within society Hugo Chavez still regains the people’s trust to direct society. It doesn’t seem as if the article is trying to undermine Hugo Chavez, but just state the hurdles he overcame in order to regain his Presidential position.
  7. 7. • Saussure, Freud, and Durkheim said that society creates meaning into the individual. Looking into this introductory of the article again it can be questioned what made these voters choose Chavez for another six years. From this perspective it would say that individual was influenced by society. That doesn’t seem like a far-fetched idea when it comes to a political election.
  8. 8. • Advertisement is probably bombarding ideas down the individuals’ throat painting a picture of how it thinks society should look. The individuals would feed off of these ideas and construct a vision of their society should be.
  9. 9. • Depending on what interest the voter the most they will use these preconceived ideas to pick a candidate based on how effective they get their message across.
  10. 10. • Although the people have the power to elect who they want in office, why do they elect that person. Is society creating meaning within the individual or is the individual thinking on their own? It would seem that if the society you are in is mostly poor and have a bad economy then you will be shaped by these ideas.
  11. 11. • The article then goes on to say that Chavez goes to twitter to thank God and his supporters. This brings me to another way of looking at it.
  12. 12. • Chavez is an individual with the responsibility to take care of his society. He reaches out through twitter as an individual to reach millions of people.
  13. 13. • Where is Chavez getting his meaning from. As president he has to cater to the needs of the public, therefore relying on society to give meaning to his work. When Chaves sent out his twitter message, it shows he recognizes the greater role society plays.
  14. 14. • The article finishes by saying Chaves has transformed Venezuelan society. This perspective gives the impression that an individual can give meaning to a society. Chavez delivered free medical care, housing, education, and cut-rate groceries to the poor. Chavez has the opportunity to give meaning to his society, through his individual beliefs. Is Chavez doing this because he really believes this is what’s right or is it because he is influenced by society and responding to its needs.
  15. 15. • “Venezuelan election officials: Chavez reelected as President, defeats Capriles President, defeats Capriles”.This article begins by saying Chavez beat his opponent Henrique Capriles Radinski.
  16. 16. • It explains how Capriles criticized Chavez for inconsistencies, infrastructure shortcomings, and corruption. Chavez battled back by highlighting his accomplishments within housing, education, and health initiatives. This is similar to the LA Times article. Here we have Chavez being tested by his policies by his opponent and he still wins. It reports that Chavez has been President since 1999. Could this have been enough time to instill his way of government that the people just accept this way of society?
  17. 17. • The article explains this has been the highest participation in the election ever. There was a heavy emphasis on controlling the violence. Chavez had troops stationed at the polls to prevent an outbreak of violence. It evident that violence is a big part of this society. How does that work with the theory? If the military is watching over the citizens to prevent violence that mean society is stressing a meaning of peace. If citizens are still willing to engage in violence does that stem from the individual. Maybe an act to break away from the confides of society.
  18. 18. • Violence would communicate a rebellion against what society wants them to do. Violence doesn’t have to be the only way of rebellion, so why violence. Is it being communicated through the community therefore stemming from society?
  19. 19. • This has been Chavez closes opponent he has ever had. Chavez won the election by ten percent, which shows there was a large percent of the country that wanted a change, but even a larger percentage who felt things will be better as they were. The culture that Chavez has instilled is still heavily influenced throughout the country. It seems through these articles more time than not society precedes the individual.
  20. 20. • The last article is from NPR “Chavez Wins Another Term As Venezuela’s President”. This article begins like the rest explaining how Chavez faced his most challenging opponent in years. After words, it says that once Chavez won he was carried through the Presidential palace singing the national anthem. This is interesting to look at that wasn’t mentioned in the other articles. It seems almost routine to sing the national anthem, especially during this moment.
  21. 21. • What’s interesting is the values that the nation stands for. I don’t know Venezuela’s national anthem, but I’m sure it contains values that the country stand for. This is another example reinforcing societies influence over the individual. A person sings the national anthem proudly and embraces it. This would seem to say that people hold these values dear and it develops individual attitudes.
  22. 22. • Alex de Tocqueville said that American society tended to make people downplay social institutions. Although this isn’t America, it’s still a Democracy. As much as an individual may ignore that, it becomes evident how society is influential through these articles. What is also seen is that the individual has the chance to influence society. The article goes on to say that the President controls much of the televised airwaves, and billions in oil profits that were used for giveaways like new apartments and appliances.
  23. 23. • The President is one person with a lot of power to sway a nation in a certain direction. With heavy control over televised airways, it’s almost scary the influence he has. Wrapping up the three articles, there were many examples between the relationship between individuals and society. It’s an interesting relationship that draws from each other.
  24. 24. • It seems society has the more heavy influence based on the articles, but individual still has the opportunity to break into a new way of living.
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