Access: no online access (trailer here)
Summary: The film Pleasantville depicts an idyllic 1950's community that experiences profound challenges to its unquestioned, taken-for-granted social norms. The movie works well in an introductory sociology class as an allegory about a settled or stable society that undergoes rapid social change following a major disruption in the worldview and widespread norm breaching. Specifically, the film depicts challenges related to the use of language, modes of communication, family formation, sexual norms, social deviance, art, and media. I recommend using the film in its entirety to demonstrate how in-groups resist change, while out-groups often challenge norms and produce positive (or negative) adaptations to society. One could also use segments of the film to demonstrate concepts like alienation, anomie, and deviance.
Submitted By: Michael Gillespie