October 01, 2009

Social Structure and the Subway

author_sally By Sally Raskoff

One of the hallmarks of sociological thinking is to recognize the existence and impact of structure. That society has structure is an elusive concept to many!

The ways that society is structured guides our behavior. It allows us to create and maintain order, to conform to norms, to signal innovation and change, and, inversely, to highlight when deviations from those norms and structures take place.

Consider public rapid transit – a subway station. While these may not exist in rural areas, they are quite common in urban and even suburban areas. (Yes, we do have them even in Los Angeles!) Train or bus stations in rural areas may have similar features.

Within the subway station, structures guide us to enter, pay our fees (if we don’t already have a pass), find our way to the trains, and exit the station once at our destination. Some of the structures that guide us through this path are physical and obvious, others less so.

The following photo essay includes images from the Los Angeles metro – important to know since this is a city with a relatively new system and with many people who don’t know how to navigate it. Whether this affects the way that the stations are structured, well, you can be the judge of that.

Starting as we walk into the station, you travel down a large staircase or escalator and find yourself channeled into the space, heading in one direction. Notice in the photograph the markings on the floor. They (and the walls) clearly tell you to walk in one direction – as those in the photo are doing. At the far end of the walkway, there is a more complex floor pattern and in that area one can go in multiple directions.

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Once inside the station, the ticket buying area is well lit and gets your attention even if you already have a pass.

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Seen from the other direction (from past the card readers – the metal stands), the area is populated and illuminated. Note the floor patterns here as well. The photos above and below are in different stations but both patterns signify activity or detail near the ticket machines and maps. If no people are present, the location of the machines is signaled by the cacophony or direction of patterns on the floor.

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Once inside, there is usually waiting to do. Eating and drinking are prohibited, so if you have to wait for your train there is not much to keep you entertained. In LA’s stations, each stop is decorated differently using public art that pertains to the history and economy of that area. Tiled art and creative benches are included in each station.

The art keeps people from focusing on each other. In such a stuffy and somewhat dark enclosed area, it seems important not to encourage people to look or interact with others. The subway is a unique social space where people of different backgrounds and social classes find themselves—perhaps for the only time that day-- in the same, small space. Also, most people who ride the subways or buses have come across a person whose mental state was altered and may be afraid of encountering people like that again. The art and signs serve to help people feel safe in subway stations and offer diversions from potentially uncomfortable encounters.

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The hardest part of getting to know a subway station is knowing which side of the platform you need to be on to going in your intended direction. While the signposts are there, they are not always readily apparent.

This next photo shows a hopeful scene – the train is approaching. Its direction is noted at the top of the image, next to the exit sign. Many people come down those stairs and look around multiple times to find which train they want – few actually look up! Once they do, typically after searching the wall alongside the train’s path, they relax and go to the correct side.

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If you gaze down to the floor on the platform, it is much plainer than upstairs. Yet I noticed this yellow patch (below).

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What might this yellow patch be? Most don’t notice it. People congregate all along the pathway, often ignoring these patches. They have raised bumps thus one might surmise that they have an important function.

Note that there are a few of them, spaced apart but not in sequential or even intervals.

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Once the next train came, I noticed their most important function!

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These yellow patches highlight where some of the trains’ doors will stop! Not all doors, but at least one per train car. The people who know this, gather around those patches while those unaccustomed to these subtle structural guides may have to run towards a door in fear of having the doors shut before they reach them.

Once on the train, the seating shows you clearly that the train may run one way or the other as the seats face both directions.

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There are rails everywhere to hold onto in case one is standing or getting while the train is in motion. What might be another function of those rails?

In the photo below, there is a vertical rail in the middle of the floor in front of the doors.

Do the rails adequately and effectively mark the personal space of the train riders?

Some of the problems that trains have is that of pickpockets and frotteurists (people who rub up against or bump into people for purposes of sexual gratification). Do these rails assist in protecting people against such practices?

The concepts of manifest and latent functions can be helpful here. While the intent and design of the rails are for stability during the ride (manifest or intended functions), the latent (or unintended) function is that they actually may encourage close physical proximity, which may explain why pickpockets and frotteurists find trains so inviting.

Take a good look at the previous photo and the next two photos of the train car.

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What other subtle (or not so subtle) structures guide our behavior?

Notice the posters on the front of the seating area and on the walls.

These Metro posters include the messages:

“Safety begins with you” The image is a hand holding onto the rail.

“We’re watching. Are you?” The image is a shoulder patch of the LA County Sheriff.

“Which one is working undercover?” The image is of train riders in their seats, three men and a woman.

“Better safe than sorry” The image is of a purse under a seat

“Planee su viaje en cualquier momento” which translates to “Plan your trip at any time” The image is of the Metro Trip Planner.

The majority of messages are about safety and point out that one is not alone in that train. There are cameras installed in every car but these posters remind you that there is not just passive security through surveillance, there may be undercover officers and that everyone should be vigilant.

Interestingly, the one message in Spanish is not about safety, but about the convenience of the website trip planning feature.

What would be the effect of the safety posters for riders who speak only Spanish?

Some criminological theories state that people are more apt to commit crimes of opportunity – crimes that they would not be caught doing. Do these posters inhibit such crimes?

Once you leave your train and head out of the station, the same structures guide you out.

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People head for the lighted ticket area and up the stairs and escalators that brought them underground.

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As one heads up those stairs, the world beckons with its more diffuse and diverse signals of where to go and what to do. Our behavior becomes much less controlled and guided outside the metro station. Do people feel different once they emerge into that space? What other examples of spaces reflecting social structure can you think of?

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Comments

I am studying social structure in my sociology class and thought this was a great article. I think it is great that there is art all around the station to distract people from each other. The messages the signs give are also very helpful. People's behavior is very much controlled in the subway station I believe.

Great post!

This line brought it all together for me: "Our behavior becomes much less controlled and guided outside the metro station. Do people feel different once they emerge into that space?" I do feel more free when I get out of the subway, and it hadn't occurred to me that structure had something to do with that.

PS: The ridged yellow patches are also guidelines for blind and visually-impaired people, who can feel them with their canes.

Great thought!
It is easy to think of all the areas we have more social structure than others. Schools are very structured compared to life at home. Schools are another interesting social structure, because they have all these guidlines and manifest and latent functions for both students and faculty. Although it is odd that many people at schools feel less willing to follow their guidlines than are people at a subway.

The mall. I couldn't help but think of a mall. The mall, a mall, any mall!

In specific I'm thinking of the Mall of America ( http://www4.worldisround.com/photos/1/318/84.jpg ).

Its entryways are designed in a way that will lead you comfortably into the mall, yet guide you in circles once inside. The bathrooms are usually not well marked, and maybe intentionally, not well places. Which means (inevitably) more window shopping and exposure. Interestingly enough, they do have bathrooms and lockers at a few entryways, with the manifest function of framing the situation. The mall seems to say "Look here, this is an adventure, and a long one. Better use the restrooms!"

I may be making leaps here, but I'll really just have to go back and visit the mall. It's too bad that I can barely stand the place!

Museums and art galleries provide a structure. One automatically speaks in hushed tones, as if a louder sound may riochet off the exhibits and cause a minor explosion. One is encouraged to walk, too, softly.

I enjoyed this article of yours and thank you for the trail of thought this has started for me.

I believe structure is necessary in our society, and without it there would be chaos. The library is a good place for structure, a place where people go to study or research with minimal noise and distraction. In our society, we are taught at a young age that you must be very quiet in the library. Because the library is so quiet, the slightest sound seems to echo. As far as the subway is concerned, I have only ridden once, and I have to say that if there were no direction I would have been totally lost. To me there is a sense of freedom when you emerge from underground. It's as if you were in a different place, and now you have light and fresh air.

I think that this is a very interesting article. I have never noticed such detail in public areas that are designed for social structure before. You can tell that a lot of observing and work was put into this research. I find the posters through out the subway to be very interesting as well. People usually never notice the subtle warnings about their behavior. I also think that the fact that people just go along with signs, the crowd and lines on the floor unconsciously or because everyone is doing it is an interesting study. I think that a mall is a good example of a space with social structure or an airport. From now on I am going to try to be more aware of these things.

Interesting article, I don't usually put that much thought in to the Subway. I've only been able to ride in the New York subway a few times, but I can strongly remember emerging from underground and feeling like I could breath easier, because I felt "freer." I wasn't cramped underground, with only artificial lights and bright paints to show me where to or not to step, or where to or not to go. So judging from my experience I would say that many people might feel the same way that I did.

Another example of a space reflecting social structure would be some place like theme park. If you have ever been to a Disney theme park you see they use rope, or chains to form a path to keep people on, so there is no line cutting. Also at Theme parks they use bright paint, or mats to show you where the doors open for the ride, similar to the yellow pad to show where the doors open to the train.

I found this article very interesting. I find it very interesting that they put art all around to distract you from other people but also to show you what direction to go in the train station. We are learning about social structure in my sociology class and this article made me understand it better. Social structure gives our sociecty structure and this subway article just shows how structured our societies really are.

It's so odd to think that there really is so much going on all the time. our minds see everything as normal and unless we stop to pull everything apart its all kind of a blur. I loved this article each picture that i would have otherwise glanced at, brought me thoughts.

I am firm believer in that if we didnt have rules and laws we had to follow our social structure would fall apart.

I thought this article was great. It shows how we do conform to normal behaivor and I believe the subway was a great presentation of that. I love how in the beginning they guide you on the floor where to go. I love the way you added a bunch of pictures instead of just writing about the examples.

This, I thought, was a very iteresting artical. Some of the things stated seem a bit odd but I suppose the Los Angeles subway and the passengers are quit differnt from what I am used to. I would like to see a similar artical about the New York subway or another much older system. I never noticed the patern in the floors pionting to things. When I was in Sao pualo on the metro, this wierd incounter took place frequently, where someone would go through and shout something out, place small products on peoples laps with out looking at them them come back around to pick them back up or collect money along with packets of gum from the passengers.

It is interesting how symbols help people, even subconsciously. They make people feel comfortable and not so intimidated by new areas. This comfortably may even help create less crime! Thank you for this post.

It's interesting to me that the subway of all places is such a big part of people's everyday lives and that social structure is seen everywhere, even on the subway! Like the commentor above, I also thought of the mall and also the airport, where there are signs everywhere to direct people.

What I found interesting was what the little yellow square implied! I think subways are scary! Due to the fact that are built underground and can fill up with water! Sorry for all you people in the big cities! If subways are built with implying messages, signs and directions then how are airports built? Have you seen the murals in the Denver Colorado Airport? I am not saying anything but WOW! Signs can be quite meaningful.

I found this article very informative and interesting. I never would have guess the effects the artworks in subways would have on the human mind, how it can distract us to avoid direct confrontation with other human beings that may seem unsettling. Other examples similar to this social structure would be in my opinion a drive thru fast food chain, and restaurant. Although not as visual as the subway, but the music if any, the mood, the food, and the artwork in this social structure can affect our behavior indirectly.

This artictle was very interesting to read because I have never thought about the LA subway like that before! Another example of a space that reflects the social structure that I can think of is at the LAX airport or any airport in general. As I was reading this article I thought that the airport is so similar to the subway and has many things that reflects the social structure such as the atmosphere and design of the airport. Another place is the theme park or university. All these places that I have mentioned have signs to direct you where to go, also has lines that you need to follow, and lastley there are designs in these places that are made for you to look at and not be bored.

Another space that reflects social structure is at the Airport they have posters that direct you to different areas in the airport. I recently visited Atlanta and at their airport they have walking conveyors that travel in one direction or the other, sending you into the airport to the gates or taking you out of the airport to baggage claim. As you travel along these paths they advertise food and gift shops that can service you while in the airport or on the plane. As you travel out of the airport they advertise rental cars and hotel accommodations as well as places to visit while in the city. There are pictures of officers dressed in uniform to assist you with any kind of problem. Overhead announcements of where to go for assistance
Movie theaters have some social structure as well they present posters for upcoming movies as well as the circular lobbies that take you from theater to theater, eliminating the feeling of being lost; just keep walking and you will arrive at your number for your movie showing. Entering the viewing area of the movies there are staircases that travel on each side of the theater; helping people to quickly decide on their seating.
Churches have banners they hang up to remind you of your duty to the church; witness for the Lord bring in new souls to Christ, upcoming events, paying tithes and giving offerings.
Hair Salons post art on their walls depicting the salon as being a comfort zone as well as hair styles. There are posters about payment options, and proper etiquette while visiting the salon.

This article was very enlightening on many areas. I never really thought about social structures having an impact on one's public behavior. It is indeed a very controlled structured area where people can comfortably adjust for the time being. The section where it talks about the floor patterns, posters, and murals in and out of the subway, never came to my attention as serving a different purpose. This sociological article helped me realize that those posters and such are carefully placed there to comfort all passengers.

Another examples of spaces reflecting social structure I can think of is an amusement park. Amusement parks direct you into one area then lead you to different areas you'd like to go. They have signs, floor patterns, and ropes separating lines and to help indict where you need to go.

This article was great. I liked how the author used pictures for examples, that helped me understand and visualize what she was talking about. One space that I could think of that reflects social structures is the airport. Any airport basically. They have signs everywhere directing people where to go just like it is in the subways. Except you're in a building and when you arrive at the airport from traveling the exit seems like it's far away. At least that's how I feel.

This is a very interesting article. I think that society has evolved in such a way where it seeks or demands some kind of organization. In a world where much is understood and unorganized and chaotic, it's these things that makes some people feel at ease. This is just my opinion.

I found this article very interesting and informative. I've been in a subway a couple of times but I never noticed the purpose of the tiles, the art and the photos inside the subway - guides people and distract from doing the wrong things. As the author says, "Our behavior becomes much less controlled and guided outside the metro station." When one gets out from a small or secluded space, one most likely feels great freedom; one feels like no one is watching him.

I found this article to be interesting. My first time on the underground Metro train station i did exactly as the article says, I was lost and didn't know on which side of the subway to stand on. I even asked a random stranger if they knew which way my train would be coming. Five minutes later while waiting for the train to come, I finally looked up and noticed the signs. I felt like an idiot but atleast now I know I'm not the only one.

Another space that reflects social structure would be a hospital. They have posters in the hallways and inside waiting rooms. There are also plenty of signs guiding you in certain directions.

After reading this article I will actually become more observant about the things around me. There are a few things I questions when I'm out in the real world. For example, the description about the yellow patches, I never knew why they were there and always questioned what the purpose of the bumps were. But after reading, I now know the reason behind the location and structure of the yellow patch. Another social structure I could think of is a mall. When you're walking around the mall you see signs all over the place, especially toward the middle. There are signs like "Restrooms" "Theaters" "Food Court" and arrows beside the text in the correct order. Also when you walk from store to store you see large ads that advertise a specific movie, a store, or a restaurant to catch your attention. At time there may even be and ad to advertise about an ad. Overall, this was a great interesting post! Loved it!

This article was very informative and eye-opening. To be honest, I probably would have never thought that the artwork posted on the walls in the subway station were there purposely, for the people to view as a substitute for looking at one another. Also, I never noticed the arrow-like tiles on the ground, isn't it funny how people don't notice obvious signs on their everyday journey through to work or school? I can actually name of few places where social structure is reflecting. One being the airport. I was recently at LAX airport and I can tell you that there are signs at almost every step you take directing you where to go and what to do. There are signs for baggage claim, boarding pass check-in, terminals, food court, duty-free stores etc. If these signs weren't there, I can tell you that I would be lost, let alone many other people. Another place would be the hospital, there are signs starting from the entrance. There are signs indicating where you should sit, the restroom, the elevator, patient rooms. We are living in a world where signs have to guide us to everywhere we go.

This article was definitely very intriguing. I never would have thought that the artwork on the walls and even the tiles on the ground were purposely placed there, not for decoration, but rather to distract people from others around them. It really makes you think about other institutions that may use similar tactics to distract people. I believe that amusement parks and hospitals are great examples of other institutions that purposefully try to differ people's attention away from those around them.

Prior to reading this article, I had never realized that the very places I visit or attend to each day comply with a certain social structure. As just another individual- in a society that expects clear instructions to get from point A to point B- I often thought that it was just the architect's and the floor plan designer's duty to create easy-flowing spaces to accomodate the people. The article cleverly taught me the vitality of recognizing structures of social destinations.
Department stores, like Nordstrom or Macy's, are other spaces that reflect social structure. As one walks through the aisles, signs hang above pointing to the direction of Restrooms, Men's, Women's, or Children's apparel sections. Rows of clothing have signs above them suggesting prices and sales. There are mannequins that model clothing. All this is done in an attempt to guide shoppers and attract them to what is being sold. Yet another example includes chain stores like Wal-Mart and Costco. Wherever they may be found in the U.S., stores such as these have a very specific structure. Both have big signs that direct people to Pharmacy, Optometry, Food courts, and even sections of deli, produce, freezer food, and customer service. The social structure's goal is to familiarize people with a brand, a destination, or an experience. Many places we visit on a daily basis comply with specific social structures. We just have to become more observant to realize.

Having read this article made me realize the importance of social structures in our daily lives. Everywhere we go we can see that structures guide us in different directions depending on where we are going. Without these types of social structures many individuals would become lost and it would be very hard to get around. Luckily for us, everywhere we go we can see that places are structured well so people may find their destination. Everything we see in our social structures are there for a reason. For example, the yellow patches in the subway are there to tell us that the train doors will open at that particular spot. As a result of these structures, we are able to get around easily everyday from one point to another.

I ride the public transportation many times a day and never actually thought of my surroundings until now. One thing I did notice about myself is that when I go underground, it's usually dark and I tend to take my time using the escalator, but when I go upstairs, I always run up to find the light of day.

I've rode the subway plenty of times going home from college. But I never really paid attention to these certain things such as the floor patterns and the yellow squares on the ground. I always thought the yellow squares were there to warn the passengers that they shouldn't go pass them to stay back when the train is approaching.After reading this article I became more aware of the subway and all the resources they give you in order for you to make it to your destination safely and in the right direction.

I've been a lot of places and seen a lot of social structures.The one that sticks out would be BRYANT DENY(football stadium),I had the pleasure of attending a few games.It was about like the article above,you go one way and once you get past ticket booths you'free to go your own way.#awesomesocialstucture


When I read this, it really reminded me of Dodger Stadium. Mainly because of how it is structured and how people act when present there. Such things like, entering the parking lot and be shown where to park, entering the stadium itself, the food and drinks expected to be bought (peanuts, beer, hotdogs, etc.)and the posters posted within the staduim are similiar to ones that may be posted in the subway. Its not as detailed as the subway, but it did remind me of it.

Interesting how I never really noticed the helpful directions, guides, and safety posters. I just usually assume that these kinds of things are common knowledge. But, then again there will be those individuals who develop a culture shock from taking the subway as a first-timer. But to others, such as myself, we tend to typical ignore these tips and notifications, because we never really needed them before.

I feel like an airport is just like a subway station, but in a much bigger scale. The ticket machines are like where you buy a plane ticket, but there's a person selling it to you. Then the "yellow patches" in the stations are like the terminals, except they're not small patches. There are also air marshals that sit in a plane ride and act as the "undercover security" like those of which who sit in the subway.

Some examples of a Social Structure that came to mind would be amusement parks. In some ways the safety rules a person would see before getting on a ride is similar to the posters that are placed within the subway. Physically, the things that would guide us to our destination would be the walk ways that have a certain pattern just like the subway station. For example, Disneyland has red bricked sidewalks and trolley tracks that indicate to walk in the direction of choice. They also have walk ways to direct oneself to an attraction one is trying to reach. The Indiana Jones ride has roped lines and symbols on the floor that point out that you are going in the right direction. Another guide for people would be the music that is played. The Haunted Mansion ride plays scary music while the Space Mountain ride plays scientific sounds. This is helpful to people who don't understand english as well because the sounds that are played give hints on how the ride will be like.

One example of a public building that is socially structured is the library. Within the library, structures guide you to enter through the metal detectors, quietly. Then you go to the section where the book(s) you are looking for. To those who are not accustomed to the dewy decimal system, you will ask the librarian for help or use the library computers to search your book(s). A library is socially structured so that people are in a place where they can fully engage in their readings and studies. It is constructed so that people are not to be loud. If somebody is being noisy, someone else will tell them to shush down. If a baby started to cry, the mother will try to quiet their child down. People know what to do, where to go, and what not to do.

This was definitely an interesting article. I never really thought about how there things around you that guide you to where you want to go. Another example is CSUN, especially during the first week of school. the walkways from the parking lead to the buildings and signs on the way tell you where mathematics or the bookstore is located.

The way society is structured, influence our behavior a great deal.I have been at the hospitals, and use to work in one, and there are signs guiding you in certain directions. The subway is likewise, and I really enjoyed reading the article, it is very interesting.

This article is interesting in that there are things within the subway stations that tell you what to do that are equivalent to man other factors within many people's lives that tell them similar structured instructions as to what they should be doing. Many people from what I know feel very submerged in the space. They close themselves off and do not want to be interacted with in many cases because they know of the inherit dangers (people who are not right in the mind, pickpockets, perverts, intoxicated persons and the homeless to name a few). Other spaces that reflect social structure may be highways, signs are posted at intervals that tell you where you are going, how fast you may go and which lane you should stay within. Billboards state a variety of messages that can range between anything from buy our soda to become a police officer, don't text and drive or the "click it or ticket" campaign against not wearing a seat belt. Accidents happen almost daily that can cause traffic, which many people make themselves oblivious to, only caring about where they need to go and how to get there on time.

This was a great article to read about. I believe in its most definite that peoples actions, thoughts and desires are much more controlled in a subway. There are other places that people’s social structure is less passive and more alert. For example, the mall or a museum would be places where society would act differently. Outside those places though, they act much more different as in a more liberal way. As for my own personal experience I act much more proper and polite in any place that is outside of my home, of course with the exception of few places like just taking a walk or at the park. Social structure is like a switch it can be turned on and off in an instant depending the location the person is.

After reading this article, it made me think of all the different types of places in the world that have art and different signs to distract and control people. Before I read this article it never caught my attention that a lot of social structures have signs to help guide people in public places. Growing up in a different city our trains are pretty much similar such as signs and patterns of the flooring. Generally a lot of public structures are like that, Malls, Schools, Hospitals, Amusement Parks, Airports, and different cities and countries as well. I think it is very common of the social structure around the world to distract, control and help people all at the same time.

An example of another space that reflects social structure is Disneyland. From the moment you pull off of the freeway, you are immediately guided every step of the way. You are told what lane to enter and where to park based on your vehicle size. From the parking lots, there are signs that indicate to you where the trams are located, which then proceed to take you to downtown disney and the ticket booths. Upon entrance to the park, you are given a park map which tells the locations and schedules of parades, shows, fireworks, and, of course, the rides. There are many different attractions for all ages. One may choose where they go once in the park based on time, line lengths, height restrictions, fast pass availability, age, and disabilities. Once the park closes, guided to leave the same way that you entered.

This article was very imformative for me because I have never been on a underground subway. The first thing that came to my mind for another space that reflects a social structure would be a a restaurant. I have been brought up in the restaurant business my whole life, my mom still owns one today. For example some people like to sit outside as where others like to sit inside or at the bar, depending on thier mood or the business and their surroundings.

This article was very interested. not often do we get to see the ways architecture and designs drives us to act and feel a certain way just because of the layout. It shows how much we as humans are alike, because we react to the same things the same way.

If you look around within your everyday life you will discover several locations and places that function to serve the same purpose. Pushing people in a direction, making them feel a certain way, making them react in the desired way. Look at an airport, the structure and images are their to make you feel like flying is cool, its new, its fun and easy. Above ground parking structures, its well lit, it was signs pointing you in a direction: depending on how new it is it may even have a sign telling you exactly how many spaces are free on every level.

Thanks for your work on this article have a nice day.

Another significant structure that involves similar activities could be seen in parking structures. Many include brightly painted speed bumps that almost seem to lead you in the right direction. As you enter the structure, you almost seem to enter another world, where it is dark and myriad signs lead you either to, "park" or "exit" the structure.

Reading this article made me realize that social structure revolves around us in are daily lives, there may be places where its more sufficient like the airport before you even arrive your already being guided to get there, once you arrive you have signs to guide you and people helping you and protecting you. In my opinion, it feels like you've entered a different environment where you could walk around without being afraid of someone hurting you, and safe to ask around to be helped to arrive to your destination. By reading this article it makes you realize that most of the places you go to, your always being monitored or signs to help you to some people it may be good, but for others it may be scary how their being watched wherever they walk too, but for me i prefer being watched to be safe in case anything happens, and signs to guide you when you enter some where new like the subway.

To Professor Kay Pih.

I really like this article. Its shows many things we never pay attention to see it, but after reading this article I will pay attention to every single thing in the public places I go to understand the people and society more.
One place I would say is a Coin Laundry. This place shows a different types of people and we can discover an important part of our society.

To Professor Pih,

This article breaks down a majority of what is seen in trains and buses. All of the LA valley uses this form of transportation to get around the big city. Teens are often exposed to "the real world" when using a bus or a train, they often see very strange and dangerous looking people that they are not used to seeing when their parents take them to school or the movie theaters. The advertisement's that are shown in the bus are not only directed to someone who needs to be under surveillance but also for that one teenage girl who is on the train alone at midnight, she will feel a sense of protection and comfort to know that she is being protected.

Reading this article has made me realized that there is a lot of different structures that guide our behavior. It is very interesting how the littlest things get our attention and how we get easily distracted. It taught me that there is a reason why the floors have different designs and why there's all sorts of things on the wall. I enjoyed reading this article because it brought to my mind new information that can be helpful.

This is an interesting and fascinating article!!
This is the same example in the video of the social structure of the mall. How the structure is bulit to have the same similarities as a church. I have used the subway many times. I have noticed the art on the walls, the arrows on the ground, and the rails to help us stand and be safe. In this article this is my first time that I have realized that there is a purpose for every detail in the subway. For example, the lighting, the patterns on the ground and on the walls. Not only subways, but almost eevrywhere we go there is a some sort of social structure. As humans, we are intelligent mammals, but we too need social sturcture in our lives in order to not be out of control.

I found this article to be of interest because I have lived in the L.A. County my entire life and have therefore used the subway many times. I liked the notion presented in the conclusion of having more freedom outside of a subway station. In part, I feel that it is as if the dim lighting contributes to that sense of freedom. Without social structure our civilization would not exist. Social structure guides us in our everyday life and it is what stops us humans from taking our clothes off and running in circles. A place that came to mind right away to represent social structure is a museum. Particularly, I was thinking of The Getty Museum. When one first goes in, rails and attendants guide us to the trolley which then takes us uphill and drops us off at the stairs that then guide you into what is the information desk, gift shop, etc. We are also taught since grade school that one is quiet inside museums and one does not run inside museums and one does not touch. Without these social structures, we would be falling apart.


(Dr. Pih, Sociology 150)

To Professor Pih,
After reading this article I fell it has taught me to be come more aware of whats around me. This article is very detailed and shows what the metro and subway systems are like. You see different types of people and it can have a bit of a culture shock if you have never been to LA or its subway system. The bright lights and patterns serve to help you get to your destination safely. This way you know where to purchase your ticket and where to board for the subway.

Another space that reflects social structure would be a freeway. Freeways have solid lines that are intended to keep cars from switching lanes and the broken lines show that it is ok to switch lanes when possible. Freeways also have signs for how far your next exit is. Also speed limits, car pool signs and others.

What I really liked about this article was that it really got me thinking about the structures I see everyday but don’t really think about. One of the main ones that came to my mind was IKEA and how everything is so well organized. Even someone walking in there for the first time knows where to go because there are arrows on the floor every few feet that take you through the entire store. The smartest thing about their design is that even if someone goes in there looking for one item, they end up walking through the entire store, and seeing all those other products might remind you that you need something else, or one might just see a product they like, which they wouldn’t have looked for otherwise, and pick it up. These structures are used everyday, and people don’t really think about what a big part of our lives they are.

Social structures are really interesting to me in the way they work because without even thinking about it people perform and do many things. The article was a good example of how the subway systems works and most people don't even know why certain things are the way the are. Well they do know, but they don't pay attention to certain specifics that i never really aknowledged either before they were pointed out in this artcile. For example, the pictures being there to avoid interaction between people and make them feel safe from potentially uncomfortable encounter was something that i would never think as a reason why they would be there for. Now if im put in that kind of a place or some where similar and i catch that i will be thinking about another possible reasoning behind it. What i found a bit odd was that although almost all the rules were followed correctly without people really paying attention one wasn't that i found ironic because it was the most obvious to me.That was the yellow patches. They are spaced out and brightly colored in comparison to the rest of floor, you would think someone would think it must mean to line up there or it must be there for a purpose. Social structure creates order and happens so much in everyday life. Another example that comes to mind where social structure occurs is inside of a class room everyday. Students know they have to follow a map to the building where their class is and then they come in and find a seat. Then they get out their supplies and wait for the professor to begin. Also when you go to the doctors or dentists office. There are usually pictures hung on the wall or brochures for patients waiting to look at or read. That reminds me of pictures at the subway station because they both avoid interaction between others there. Social structure occurs almost everywhere from churches to amusement parks guiding you where to go next and what to do.

Social structures are really interesting to me in the way they work because without even thinking about it people perform and do many things. The article was a good example of how the subway systems works and most people don't even know why certain things are the way the are. Well they do know, but they don't pay attention to certain specifics that i never really aknowledged either before they were pointed out in this artcile. For example, the pictures being there to avoid interaction between people and make them feel safe from potentially uncomfortable encounter was something that i would never think as a reason why they would be there for. Now if im put in that kind of a place or some where similar and i catch that i will be thinking about another possible reasoning behind it. What i found a bit odd was that although almost all the rules were followed correctly without people really paying attention one wasn't that i found ironic because it was the most obvious to me.That was the yellow patches. They are spaced out and brightly colored in comparison to the rest of floor, you would think someone would think it must mean to line up there or it must be there for a purpose. Social structure creates order and happens so much in everyday life. Another example that comes to mind where social structure occurs is inside of a class room everyday. Students know they have to follow a map to the building where their class is and then they come in and find a seat. Then they get out their supplies and wait for the professor to begin. Also when you go to the doctors or dentists office. There are usually pictures hung on the wall or brochures for patients waiting to look at or read. That reminds me of pictures at the subway station because they both avoid interaction between others there. Social structure occurs almost everywhere from churches to amusement parks guiding you where to go next and what to do.

I never really thought about how a subway or a space of area can affect one's behavior until reading this article. Thinking of other spaces, I think of a school, the mall or even a coffee shop. A school also effects your behavior because even classrooms the desks are usually structured facing the front. It is telling you where to look to pay attention to the professor or the teacher. Coffee shops usually have art of coffee all around and pictures of people enjoying coffee trying to bring an atmosphere of calm, relaxing and enjoyable. When you walk into an airport, it has signs everywhere telling you where to go and where to buy tickets. Also hospitals have signs telling you where to go and usually have art on the walls or posters of safety regulations or even of the doctors. It tries to bring a sense of safety and brings attention to health matters.

I never really thought about how a subway or a space of area can affect one's behavior until reading this article. Thinking of other spaces, I think of a school, the mall or even a coffee shop. A school also effects your behavior because even classrooms the desks are usually structured facing the front. It is telling you where to look to pay attention to the professor or the teacher. Coffee shops usually have art of coffee all around and pictures of people enjoying coffee trying to bring an atmosphere of calm, relaxing and enjoyable. When you walk into an airport, it has signs everywhere telling you where to go and where to buy tickets. Also hospitals have signs telling you where to go and usually have art on the walls or posters of safety regulations or even of the doctors. It tries to bring a sense of safety and brings attention to health matters.

It's really interesting the way social structures work and how naturally we analyze and respond to them. Another example of a space would be a place like Disneyland or any other theme park. Specifically, at Disneyland before you even enter the theme park you are guided to the parking structure by many signs and you are to remember where you parked by the number and Disney characters pictured on the conrete pillars. Then you follow the crowd and signs to the many trains that drive you to the entrance of the theme park. The ticket booths near the entrance are clear and in sight for people to walk over and purchase their tickets. Inside the park, the main streets guide you to the various Disney themed sections of the park. And when waiting in line there are ropes and lines that you have to stand behind and wait to go on a ride. Also, there are picnic areas where people can go and eat food they brought to the park or they can go to the restaurants and eat at their tables. An obvious social structure there and mostly any other public place are their restrooms for women and men. Overall, theme parks like Disneyland have all kinds of social structures people follow without even "thinking" about it.

(SOC 150, Dr. Pih)

This article was very informative overall. I'd been used public transformation for almost 5 years, but I'd never realized hoe social structure affected many people in terms for their behavior. It was very interesting article.

Very interesting article, I never noticed that even thought the bars on the subway train were meant for security it could also be bad for theft and sexual contact. Other examples of places with structures is the library where theres only one entrance and exit usually, and everything is labaled so you know where to go to look for a book. Its a place where its quiet because it was meant as a study and work place. There are also different sections in the library for adults, teens, and children.

After reading this article i noticed that social structure is everywhere. Another place that i noticed social structure is schools and universities.while at school student practice the same enduring patterns and everything is carefully layed out. There are signs and teachers to structure everything for students. Most of of my life has been very structured or normal.This article brought notice to that and i thought it was very interesting

This article was very interesting and I was able to relate to it because I have been in a train station alone trying to figure out my way around. In society I feel that everyone has that lost feeling at least one place they go where society will actually lead you in the right direction. When reading this article i was able to connect it to the airport because even though in an airport we all go through the same entrance that leads us to other areas but to find where you need to go, there is structure and signs that are very helpful.


Another type of space that guides the behavior of people who use it is Malls. They are designed as sacred places usually having some similarities to a church. For example the film "Malls r us" explains that water fountains in the shopping center helps persuade people to go with the flow of shopping. The water also symbolizes purification and eternal life. It gives the impression that humans need to visit the mall because it is a special place separate from the outside world. Most malls have plants and trees outside and within the vicinity to transcend and calm the shoppers. When one enters the mall you see walkways that allow you to walk around the whole structure leading you through the whole mall. Another example of social structure is the way lighting is used, at the center of most malls there are skylights that emits a bright light that makes people feel more awake and energized. In addition to skylights the malls are constructed to have high ceilings which evokes the experience of many churches.

Another type of space that guides the behavior of people who use it is Malls. They are designed as sacred places usually having some similarities to a church. For example the film "Malls r us" explains that water fountains in the shopping center helps persuade people to go with the flow of shopping. The water also symbolizes purification and eternal life. It gives the impression that humans need to visit the mall because it is a special place separate from the outside world. Most malls have plants and trees outside and within the vicinity to transcend and calm the shoppers. When one enters the mall you see walkways that allow you to walk around the whole structure leading you through the whole mall. Another example of social structure is the way lighting is used, at the center of most malls there are skylights that emits a bright light that makes people feel more awake and energized. In addition to skylights the malls are constructed to have high ceilings which evokes the experience of many churches.

To Professor Phi

I found this article to be very interesting. Another example of a space that tends to reflect on the social structure is church. People that attend church usually tend to be more conservative and concerned of there actions. They try to do good because they are otherwise sinning if they preform any type foul action. Some tend to be very narrow minded especially when it comes to religion. They all only believe in that one God. They are all there for the better of their self and the family. In some way or another people that attend church seem to be in search f the same interests and have pretty similar feelings and beliefs.

I think helps a lot of people arrive where they need to be because they are always in time and try make the stops try need to make. In the other hand I believe that some people who take the buses and te trains just go into them to vandalize them so that should be something that should be stop. There should also be more buses or trains avaliable to take people where they need to be.

Everything has its structure according to one of my professors in college. That is a basic of everything.

Airports are another example of a place that reflects a social structure. As you enter the airport it guides you to where you need to sign in, weigh your bags, pay, and what terminal your airplane will be arriving at. If there wasn’t any structure everyone would get lost. Then, this would lead to chaos. I believe people’s behavior is controlled when they are in a social structure.

It's awesome to see how they are and how people act underground. Out here in Chicago they are so busy and dark. Then again we only have trains so we load outside and unload underground and back up the stairs. Once I get out I know I am happy because there really isn't much to do when you're on them.

I am reminded of a airport with signs pointing to all different directions. I see the entry to the subway as being closed in, restricted, and when she emerges from the subway a new beginning.

to Professor Banerjea,

A hospital would be a good example of another of a social structure.

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