The Mission contains several sociological aspects and concepts. Those concepts are social inequality, deviance, and subcultures. Social inequality is the social differences that exist whenever one group of people has different access to the rewards a society offers. Deviance is a variation from a set of norms or shared social expectations. Finally, subcultures are groups of persons who share in the main culture of a society but also have their own distinctive values, norms, and lifestyles.
Social inequality, deviance, and subcultures are clearly recognizable and are the concepts most prevalent in the storyline of the movie. First, The Mission is a great example of social inequality. The Jesuits are trying to bring social equality and giving the Indians social mobility by allowing them to make money for themselves. However, the ruling class takes this brief attempt for some sort of equality from them. The social inequality is what motivates the Jesuits to build the Missions (as well as to convert the Indians).
The social inequality leads to change, and in turn, also shows much progress. Sadly, this progress is destroyed by those in the ruling class. This conflict leads to an even bigger inequality in the society. However, the end of the movie shows a few Indian children who are not killed gathering a few things left over from the Mission. These children will lead to social change because they have remnants of the Mission physically and through what they were taught. Next, one concept seen in the movie is deviance.
Roderigo serves as the best example of this concept. Several times throughout the movie he deviates from the set of norms his society sets for him. He is ruled by his social expectations in the beginning, but as the movie progresses, he seems to be less concerned with the standards placed before him and more concerned with what he feels is right. In the beginning of the movie, he is a slave trader and a very influential person in the settlements with the Spanish.
Even when he kills his brother, he is untouchable by the law. However, it is when he kills his brother that the viewer’s first seeing his deviance take place. It is deviant to kill in almost all societies so based on that alone he is deviant. However, his deviance is much deeper than just that. He deviates from society also when he leaves his life to become a priest after he puts himself through harsh penance. The fact that he becomes a priest and is helping the very people he hunted and sold as slaves, is in act, very deviant to the ruling class subculture of which he had once been a part. He also shows deviant behavior as a priest. He shouts an insult during trial to a representative of the King, and later disobeys the order of the Cardinal when he fights with the Indians. His fight with the Indians is perhaps his most deviant action. This is because when he first deviates from his lifestyle as a mercenary, at least one subculture does not see his behavior as deviant. In fact, two of the subcultures in the in movie encourage his change.
When he fights against the Europeans and with the Indians, he is showing deviant behavior towards the Europeans, as well as disobeying the wishes of his superior in the Jesuit order. Lastly, another concept that is heavily prominent in the movie is that of a subculture. There are three easily identifiable subcultures. They are the Indians, the Jesuits, and the Ruling Class, in this case, the Spanish and Portuguese. These three subcultures all have their own culture, and traditions. They all believe in different things and values, but share in the same main culture of the society.
The Indians become a subculture of the society when the Jesuits introduce their society to them. They are much more primitive and have different beliefs, but they function in the same society as the Jesuits and Europeans. The Indians make money working on the Mission and they worship the same God. The Jesuits are their own subculture because they too have their own beliefs in different things than the rest of society but are obviously part of the main society. They rely on protection from the Spanish and are obviously forced to interact with the settlements frequently.
The ruling classes also have their own subcultures because they have different beliefs and interests as well. They have their own ideals that were mainly in profiting themselves. Although they seem to be the main bulk of society they are also a subculture because there are only a few in the ruling class that hold the same views of what to do with the Missions. I feel that this movie is very interesting and entertaining. It is also very sad. I think that the social inequality is the most prevalent thing in the movie because it is clear how the ruling class thinks of the Indians.
There is also a great gap between the rich and the poor. I also like the character of Roderigo and the deviance he brings to the movie. He is almost his own subculture in a way. It never really seems like he follows any sort of norm or shared belief. I think he just does what his heart tells him to do. It is also interesting that he is a deviant in different situations, depending on what point of view one is using. It is a true story of the inequality that took place and is very sad, yet important to know.