Alexis de Tocqueville was an important thinker of the 19th century, who wrote a number of important works on the interaction of social cohesion, equality and status in society. What would Tocqueville conclude as he could now studying society?
Because everyone is in principle equal and social positions no longer fixed, everyone has the opportunity to fully develop themselves. Everyone is equal, and that is why everyone wants to be a superior towards his peers. It is in modern society seen as a virtue to pursue personal ambitions and thus raise the social status. Modern man is constantly engaged in a competition. Because people want to distinguish themselves time and again of their fellow man, they become isolated. They can no longer rely on institutions such as the church and the family is on increasingly loose screws. This puts the individual more and more on themselves.
On the one hand it looks like an increasing individualization, on the other hand is a clear desire for acceptance visible. People present themselves as independent, autonomous individuals, but seem to attach much importance to the opinions of others. A man no longer believes in its own power, unless another tells him he can do that. There is a continuing need for recognition. This need leads to conformism and that makes a citizen to say the least social-uncritical. Someone who wants to be accepted, do not complain about things that are against him. He does not even have time for that, because he has to constantly keep abreast of what is going on so that he can talk about things that matter to other matter. Public opinion is his opinion. If someone is already socially active, he does it rather because of the egostreling he thus received by an admiring audience, but to moral commitment towards society.
This was in the time of De Tocqueville already visible, today it is an obvious fact that people like to emulate their peers. Particularly among young people is an important issue to hear it, but just to be better than the rest. That distinction is particularly evident in consumerism. A clear example is the run on mobile phones. Had ten years ago, hardly anyone even a mobile phone, nowadays almost everyone there one or two. To stand still distinguish, it is necessary to keep up-to-date and some young people therefore see it as necessary every three months to buy a new phone with all sorts of gadgets and where you wonder can call them miracles too. To fund this expensive hobby, they take part-time jobs and some take for granted huge debts to fund their desire for acceptance.
Distinction does not always have to cost much. With slight differences sometimes to see which group a person belongs. Small, but significant details, like the way someone his shoelaces, can be seen to which group a younger one, what clothes he is wearing, what music he listens and even the general life of a young person is often to read his appearance.
A predecessor of American Idol, called Starmaker, had a similar kind of course and led to the creation of the pop group K-otic. Just to reach the widest possible audience, this teen starlets make possible so mediocre pop tunes. The desire for recognition is prevailed here over artistic freedom or self-development. Mediocrity and normality are here therefore sought to achieve acceptance among the widest audience possible.
And we are talking only about the idols themselves. The great masses who admiringly looks up to their idols and emulates them, is not as ingenious as the people who made K-otic big and follow their idols closely in everything they do. She is afraid to fall out of tune and expires therefore automatically to mediocrity. Rather than mediocre unaccepted.
Alexis de Tocqueville and egostreling in the 21st century