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Some sociological concepts in the Bee Movie January 10, 2008

Posted by rockerfem in Commentaries, Random Thoughts.
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In the lay person’s perspective the movie’s theme is light, it’s just a story of a bee who wants to be indifferent from his own kind. Looking at it in a sociological perspective there are lots of concepts or perspectives that could be applied to this one. At the first part of the story when Barry ( the bee) felt that being a worker all throughout the bee’s lifetime is not fair. Barry thinks of no room to maximize his potentials within his hive that is why he dared to go out of the hive and discovered what human beings do. In this light, a very familiar concept of Karl Marx struck me which is alienation. According to Craib ( 1997), “Alienation is a state in which the environment we create takes on a real solidity, comes to seem unchangeable… The system we create acts back on us to form and control us, and it alienates us from our own collective nature as beings who work together to transform out world and ourselves” ( pp. 89). Relating Craib’s discussion of Marx’s alienation with the movie, the hive pertains to the system in which forms their “beehood” and gains control over the bees. The bees don’t have a choice but to work all their life because that is how their system works. They are overworked and thus hinder them to maximize their potentials.

Barry couldn’t imagine that kind of life, he’s a dreamer and wants to live outside of his “nature”. When Barry goes out in the human world he discovers that the reason why bees are overworked is because of the mass production of honey by humans. Barry takes action by suing the whole human race. This is a very idealistic thought but in the movie Barry was successful. Due to his idealistic endeavors, the balance of nature was disturbed thus the whole ecosystem was affected since bees do not need to work anymore because they can survive a lifetime with all the honey that they got from the human race. In this light, the writer of the movie ( by the way, it’s Jerry Seinfeld ) shifts from a Marxist point of view to a Parsonian point of view ( i. e Functionalist perspective). According to Parsons, society could be best explained by analogizing it to biology (Craib 43). Like the human body, society has parts which have roles to perform. These parts need sustenance to be able to survive. Parsons used the concept of cybernetics ( science of systems) in explaining how the subparts of society work like the human body.

Due to Barry’s personal endeavor of achieving justice for his fellow bees around the world who were overworked, the entire ecosystem disintegrated. Bees have a function in the ecosystem and that is to perform pollination. Upon realizing the story, the writer started by focusing on human agency ( or individualistic endeavors in lay person’s terms) then shifted gears in giving importance on structure/ order. The dialectic of agency/structure or individualism/structure highlights the way of thinking of the writer. Barry’s personal endeavors of achieving justice for all the bees in the world was followed by an abrupt action however his personal endeavors only harmed the system.

Would you think that I am thinking about sociological concepts while I was watching the movie? Well I didn’t wanna write it all here. This, I believe, are the concepts which were highlighted in the movie.

**bibliography: Craib, I. Classical Social Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. 1997. Craib, I. Modern Social Theory: From Parsons to Habermas. Great Britain: Harvester Wheatsheaf. 1992.

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