BUG’S LIFE THE MOVIE In the Disney movie, A Bugs Life, there are many sociological factors that are present. First there is the difference between the leadership styles of the Queen ant, Princess Atta, and even Hopper the grasshopper. Also, the ant colony it self portrays the differences in social groups and who is looked at as a norm based on the ants perception and those who are deviant from the colony. And lastly, another sociological perspective that can be seen is the symbolic interationist perspective and the way one acts of deviance or norm and if that is based and if that behavior is biological or learned.

In what follows the colony of ants will be descried and analyzed through the sociological aspects of, leadership portrayed by Princess Atta, the groups that are presented by the ants and the grasshoppers, and also the theories of behavior that can possibly explain Flik’s non compliant ways of the other ants. Leadership can be categorized in three different ways. These ways are Authoritarian, Democratic, and Laissez-Faire type leadership. Those who lead in an authoritarian manner are those who give orders and have things done their way and their way only.

Democratic leaders strive to gain a consensus from others and are open to others ideas before making there final decisions. A leader who demonstrates laissez-faire type leadership is one who is highly permissive and provides little or no direction and gives others as much freedom as possible. In A Bugs Life, Princess Atta attempts to be authoritarian leaders in the beginning of the movie as the ants prepare the harvest for the grasshoppers as it is her training to be queen time. She tries to look over what everyone is doing and have a say in everything that is going on.

This can be seen as she “freaks out” over   gap in the line and even though the counter tells her it is fine, she still deems it necessary to look over his shoulder to watch him count and make sure the gap is not hurting the amount of food being left for the harvest. The type of leadership that Princess Atta mostly portrays in the movie is one of a democratic style. Since she is a queen in training she is not completely confident in her own decisions so she uses the royal council to help her in her decisions.

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This is portrayed in the scene in which they deliberate about Flik and whether to punish him for his actions of dumping all the harvest food, or if they should grant his wish to go find bigger bugs to help. She seeks the advice of the council and they all give her the idea of, well if Flik goes to look he may never come back. After hearing them all she decides that yes, Flik can go out and seek help of bigger bugs to get rid of the grasshopper, which in reality it is to get rid of him.

Princess Atta highly relies on her subordinates in the royal council when demonstrating her leadership abilities. Within the ant colony different sociological concepts of groups are present. The groups that can be discussed are the primary group, the in- group, and the reference group within the ant colony. The grasshoppers represent the out-group within the ant colony’s realm of socialization. Primary groups are small social group whose members share close, personal, enduring primary relationships. ime spent These groups are marked by members’ concern for one another, shared activities and culture, and long periods of together. The ant colony shows this in the bond they share together. They all work as a team to gather food and leave an offering for the grasshoppers that in return protect them from larger bugs. They all show a bond in following the orders of the leadership and willingness to try new ideas in order to keep the colony alive. This is show with the gathering of the food and all staying in line and dropping the food off all as a group.

Also when the idea of the “Bird” was given they even decided to follow through with the idea with it being presented by Flik in order to get rid of the grasshoppers and leave the colony alone. Another group presented in the movie is the in-group. The in-group is a social group towards which an individual feels loyalty and respect, usually due to membership in the group. The in group within the ant colony is pretty much every ant other than Flik and also the grasshoppers. The ants all share the same ideas and all feel a loyalty to the colony to protect it.

All of the ants look at Flik as an outcast and not part of the colony because he is different and wants to change years of tradition with inventions and new ideologies. The royal council was willing to risk Flik’s life just to get him away from the colony in order to prepare the food for the grasshoppers again since he is the reason they had to harvest all over. Another group is that of the reference group. A reference group is a group of people or organization of which an individual respects, identifies with, or aspires to join.

All the ants identify what the role of that ant is and what they are to do in order to live in the life in which they live. Being an outsider is not a status that one wants to achieve. Flik wants to be part of the ants as an equal, not just be an ant. He feels that with his quest to find bigger bugs to help protect the ants will win him the respect in which he needs to be considered one of the ants. Even after finding out that is warrior bugs are nothing more than circus bugs, he does not want to tell the colony for fear of not being accepted back into the colony.

Another group that is portrayed by the grasshoppers in this movie is the out group. The out group is people outside ones own group and seen as less good, or in the case of the opposing group, really bad. The term “enemy image” refers to the same thing. The grasshoppers are looked at as the enemy of the ants because if they do not fulfill the demands of the grasshoppers there lives are in danger. The grasshoppers do not live with the same ideas as the ants therefore are considered outsider. They are the largest threat and enemy to the ants in this movie.

The last sociological idea to be discussed is the ideas of behaviors and deviance through the character of Flik. The different theories that can be used are the labeling theory, the control theory, and the theory of differential association. Labeling theory is concerned with how the self-identity and behavior of an individual is influenced (or created) by how that individual is categorized and described by others in their society. In the colony’s view Flik is labeled as a disadvantage to the colony.

All he does is mess things up and not obi by the rules and norms that are present by the colony. This is represented in the part of the movie when Flik has made an invention to harvest grain faster and all he gets from other ants is a roll of the eye and a just do it the old way, don’t try to change our way of life. Also when he tries to give Princess Atta a telescope to help her over see her operation better, all she does is throw it to the ground and tell him to get back to work. He is labeled as an outsider and one who is deviant to the social norms of the ant colony.

The control theory states that behavior is inspired by what a person wants most at any given time: survival, love, power, freedom, or any other basic human need. Flik shows this in the way in how he wants to be accepted into the colony and looked at as an equal. At times he has to fight his intuition to be different and give his ideas and at the same time he does not want to say or do anything that would have the other ants look upon him with shame. He changes his behavior in the movie to become more compliant in order to earn the respect to be one of the ants.

He shows this in the gathering of the warrior bugs. He does exactly what he says he is going to do and proves to the ants that he want to help and be a part of this colony. The theory of differential association proposes that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for deviant or conformity behaviors. In A Bugs Life, Flik is more than anything a deviant to the ant colony. This characteristic is not portrayed to as learned. No one else is like Flik.

It is as if though his behavior was already imbedded in him as a young ant and then he just grew into this ant of not conforming to the norm. If he learned how to be this way it was only in the way in which he was never corrected when he was different but rather just ignored or shunned. This is apparent in the movie when the royal council is willing to send him off on what seems to be an unrealistic mission and knowing the consequence could be Flick never returning to the colony. The movie A Bug’s Life shows a lot of different aspects of sociological concepts.

Even more than discussing leadership, groups, and behavior can be found and dug up in this movie. These ideas are the most relevant when explaining an ant colony and the fundamentals of their type of society. In the end, the democratic leadership of Princess Atta, the in and out groups of the ants and their enemies the grasshoppers, and the deviant but harmful behaviors of Flik all show and represent the sociological aspects to describe the ant colony and get a better understanding to how they portray what their society is and who is a positive part and who is a negative part of that world.


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