Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that has been in the running for sixteen seasons. Over the course of sixteen seasons, the series has told viewers a handful of stories. Meredith Grey, the leading character, has suffered many hardships in her past, met new people, and had many highs in her life. She comes to fall in love with Derek Shepard and starts a family with him. Meredith suffers the loss of her mother, friend, and husband while managing the long work hours at Seattle Grace Hospital. Grey’s Anatomy incorporates many elements of sociology through the episodes. This includes aspects of socialization, groups, deviance, and culture. While there are other examples of sociology that can be found, these four were the biggest throughout the series. Socialization is exemplified a lot in Grey’s Anatomy. Family, anticipatory socialization, and resocialization are all demonstrated. Viewers see how family affects Meredith Grey’s character and how she has become the person she is. Meredith’s mom, Ellis, was a world renowned surgeon and spent many of her hours at the hospital. This caused her to bring Meredith to work a lot. Meredith grew up in the hospital and her mother’s job influenced her to want to become a doctor too. Since she spent most of her time at the hospital she was already taught many skills to become a surgeon at a young age. In season five, there is a flashback of young Meredith carrying around her “Anatomy Jane” doll in the hospital. Her mother’s long work hours caused Meredith to have to find something to do and she carried this doll everywhere she went. Ellis Grey influenced Meredith to become a surgeon but also affected her character when she became a young adult. Ellis Grey worked too much to form a strong relationship with her daughter, Meredith. Meredith was alone many nights and grew up to feel unloved. This affected who Meredith grew up to be and she felt unworthy of love. When Meredith first meets Derek Shepard, she does not want to get into an involved relationship with him because she knows what it feels like to be deserted. The words Ellis told Meredith caused her to feel she was not worthy enough. In episode fourteen of season three, Ellis tells Meredith she is nothing more than ordinary. Meredith then grew up to feel she would never be extraordinary, which she proves wrong in later seasons. Ellis Grey was the only person Meredith grew up around and she caused her daughter to hesitate to feel loved. Anticipatory socialization is highly demonstrated through seasons one through four. Meredith, George, Cristina, Izzy, and Alex are four people trying to complete their internship in order to become first year residents. They have to go through many different trainings and classes to become informed on the different types of surgeries. In the very first episode of Grey’s Anatomy, George gets the opportunity to help perform a surgery. This opportunity was a great experience for him to prepare for his future as a first year resident. Through the first four seasons, we see very late nights and hard work from the five interns trying to perform to the best of their ability. Dr. Bailey, their mentor, pushes them to their extreme and helps the five interns to become successful in reaching their future role of first year resident. Resocialization is seen in the last episode of season fifteen and the current season. Meredith, Richard, and Alex were all fired from the hospital because they all took part in insurance fraud. These three were removed from their daily practices and forced out of work. Meredith was then sentenced community service from the judge where she had to follow a certain set of rules that she was not used to. Meredith experienced a degradation ceremony and could not do what she loved to do, perform surgery. In season sixteen episode one, Alex and Richard are in Alex’s apartment talking about what they should do next. The two surgeons have practiced medicine majority of their life and now no longer could. Groups play a crucial role in Grey’s Anatomy. There is an overall example of clear division of labor. Each surgeon has a specialty that they excel in and only performs surgery on cases particular to that specialty. Many surgeons were undecided, but Cristina Yang loved cardio from the beginning. In season four episode six, Cristina tells Izzy that she is married to cardio and that it is what she is best at. Alex was one of the surgeons that was undecided about his speciality. The sixth episode of the fourth season is the episode where Alex commits to pediatrics. He comforts a baby on his chest for hours so she will not cry. While division of labor is demonstrated from each person picking their specialty, it is also shown in the operating room. When Meredith Grey was undergoing surgery from being attacked in season twelve, Richard, Maggie, Owen, and Ben all assist. These surgeons all have different specialties but had to work together to make Meredith okay. In season fifteen Jo is an example of being associated with an aggregate. She finds out the truth about her past of her father being a rapist. Jo claims that she is only here because her mom was raped. Depression takes over her and she is admitted to seek mental health treatment. At this treatment center, there are a group of people that share common characteristics of being depressed and therefore are classified as sharing similarities. Another example of an aggregate was in season three, when a ferryboat crashed. This caused a group of people sharing the common characteristic of having a loved one in the crash. A huge group of people showed up in the hospital only hoping there loved one was alive. These people did not know each other, they just wanted to know if the person they cared about was safe. There are multiple dyads in the series. The most important is Cristina and Meredith’s friendship. They met on the first day of internship and ultimately became best friends. These two were inseparable and through the series, their friendship grows stronger each season. Cristina and Meredith refer to each other as their person and everyone around them knows they can not be separated. There is a scene in season seven where Cristina comes to Derek and Meredith’s room kicking Derek out. Meredith does not mind because Cristina is very important to her. These two have been through many things together, such as a bombing and plane crash, and have remained a strong dyad. Examples of deviance are portrayed multiple times throughout Grey’s Anatomy. Negative sanctions are performed quite frequently in the series. The hospital has specific rules and codes to follow and when someone breaks these rules, consequences are served. Throughout season two, Izzie forms a strong relationship with one of her patients, Denny Duquette. In the final episode of season two, Izzie cuts Denny’s lvad wire to save his life. This broke protocol and she was then fired from the hospital. Her action violating a rule resulted in her severe punishment. Another example of a negative sanction is during season twelve episode eighteen. Ben performs an emergency c-section in the hallway as an intern. Interns are not allowed to perform surgery without a resident, so since he broke the rule punishment was given. Dr. Bailey, his wife, suspended him for six weeks. Even though Ben was her husband, Dr. Bailey still had to punish his actions. The last example of a negative sanction is when Burke had a trimmer in season three. Richard wanted Burke to take his place as Chief so Burke hid his trimmer. The truth eventually got out and Burke was not able to be appointed Chief. This negative action he did caused him to not get the job he had worked so hard for. There are multiple examples of master status’ in Grey’s Anatomy. This includes doctors and nurses around the hospital. Many people outside of the hospital refer to Meredith as Dr.Grey because being a doctor is her master status. While being a doctor or nurse outside of the hospital is many of the character’s master status, there are specific master status’ inside the hospital. These would be pediatric surgeon and neurosurgeon. While all of the characters are doctors, some have other master status’. Meredith, Callie, and April are mothers. Derek and Richard are husbands. While the doctors did some negative things, patients committed hate crimes while visiting in the hospital. In season four episode nine, a man comes in requesting a male doctor. He then also requests a white doctor. As he is being examined a doctor notices he has a swastika tattoo on his stomach. Everyone then realizes he is against black people and racist. Another example of hate crime is in season twelve when a homophobic comes in with their gay child. They want to send their child to a camp and tells Callie, who is gay, about their plan. The couple is very disrespecting to Callie and their daughter. Both the racist man and homophobic couple are perfect examples of portraying hate crime. Culture is very important in Grey’s Anatomy. There are many different elements portrayed throughout the series. Meredith’s house could be classified as material culture. Her house was owned by her mom and the house she grew up in. This house was symbolic throughout many seasons because many people lived in it. In season one episode two, Meredith gets two roommates and from this point on the house was the go-to house for anyone. While Meredith was the owner, she thought of the house as everyones. Another example of material culture is Derek’s scrub cap. His scrub cap has ferry boats on it and he never does surgery without it. Derek’s scrub cap is one of his person belongings that he cherishes. Religion is not discussed a lot in Grey’s Anatomy, but one character demonstrates non-material culture with her religion. April is a christian and is one of the only characters who openly discusses their religion. During her marriage with Jackson, they have issues discussing what religion their child will believe. Jackson is an atheist and April is a Christian, causing their difference in religion to interfere with their marriage. Another example of nonmaterial culture is Cristina being Jewish. She is not able to do some things such as having a pastor at her wedding. There is a scene where Burke puts a Christmas tree out, but Cristina tells him she is Jewish and does not celebrate it. There were many inventions shown over the course of the show. The first one was the heart in the box. This was in the eighth season and it was something the interns had never seen. The heart was beating while in a box. The second invention was a surgical pen invented by Richard Webber. The pen was able to find cancer easier and became very useful throughout the fourteenth season. The last example of an invention was birthing a baby through a bag. Deluca’s dad came to the hospital and experimented with a lamb in a bag. He found it was successful and knew it would be successful on humans too. There are many cultural universals shown throughout the episodes. The first example is a few weddings that happened. Ben and Bailey, Callie and Arizona, and April and Matthew’s wedding were all examples of what typical weddings were like in America. Formal dresses, ceremonies, and the flowers were all a part of the couples special day. Another example of a cultural universal was Zola’s birthday party. In season eight episode twelve, Zola had a birthday party filled with balloons, cake, and presents. These are all typical things included in a birthday party. While Grey’s Anatomy is loved by many for its dramatic episodes, the show is a great example of demonstrating sociology in real life. Character’s lives are put to the test and viewers see how life is affected by their surroundings. Throughout the episodes, aspects of socialization, groups, deviance, and culture are exemplified. Meredith Grey, along with her fellow peers, work long hours in the hospital trying to balance a social life. Since so many aspects of sociology are included in Grey’s Anatomy, it is a great show to relate these ideas to real life scenarios.
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