Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I remember when my father handed me the novel 1984 by George Orwell, he told me that “when a government controls the language, they control the governed.” Throughout my reading of Foucault, I kept remembering what my father told me and then subsequent knowledge I gained from reading the text he had loaned me. In the novel, the Ministry of Truth falsifies historical events and ultimately creates "newspeak" which suits the totalitarian regime in which the story is set. They control the knowledge of the populous in order to keep them under control. For me it exemplifies Foucault’s theory of power/knowledge quite well.
What other examples in our culture, including pop culture, lends credit to Foucaults theory of power as knowledge?
What are some concepts about yourself that you believe you cannot express properly by taking a position as it exists within modern language and culture? What are some concepts you believe have changed based on your own use of a specific position?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Do the work of these theorists possess utility when speculating into the future?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Is experiencing oppression a way to conform to social norms or a way to become aware of them?
Just how compatible is a school of philosophy that assumes there is nothing is fundamentally human and a study that often makes assumptions of human nature?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
In the introduction to Goffman’s “Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,” Appelrouth and Edles (2008, pp. 491), state “In a sense, his book is an analysis of the familiar saying ‘actions speak louder than words,’ but after reading Goffman you will never be able to adjust the volume again.” I found this statement to be as profound as it was true. As I read Goffman, I found it very easy to picture situations in which I could clearly define each step in the process of presenting my character to a particular audience. However, I felt that Goffman left little room for the individual to be genuine. He, instead, places more emphasis on the “convincing performance” over the genuine sincerity of the individual performer (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). I also have difficulty agreeing with his idea that, in order for a performance to work, the individual is expected to “…suppress his immediate heartfelt feelings, conveying a view of the situation which he feels the others will be able to find at least temporarily acceptable.” (Goffman, 1959 as cited in Appelrouth & Edles, 2008, pp. 496). It has been my experience that genuine, honest “performance” in a social setting is valued over being agreeable.
Are there any situations where you feel as if you are portraying your genuine self? How are these situations different from the one's in which you perceive yourself to be portraying a self that is not genuine? Can you tell the difference?
Are you consciously aware of yourself performing like an actor in everyday societal interactions?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
What are some of the specific ways in which cultural industry manipulates society?
Do you personally see and feel some aspect of the cultural industry intruding into your life? What are they, and how are you affected?
“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”
As a result society is created by citizens yielding the rights to all for the security of inclusion. This would of course lead to desires that could not be fulfilled by socially accepted means. This is inherently oppressive, as doubtlessly the critical theorists would agree, but fundamental to the existence of society. Not to be an apologist for oppression by any measure, but the general anti-oppressive nature of critical theory cannot seem to account for this necessity.
Is there a discernable manner to judge a form of oppression’s necessity or must we be required to reject either critical or Hobbesian standpoints?
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Do you agree with Coser’s assumption that internal conflicts only works with emotional goals?
Allan, Kenneth. The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory. California: Sage Publications, 2007.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Will we ever come to a point where men and women are physically equal in terms of strength, speed, and size, given the basic evolutionary and biological differences which distinguish men and women?
Monday, February 23, 2009
What similarities do you see between W. E. B. Du Bois and President Barak Obama?
King, M. L. (1968). “I have a dream” address delivered at the march on Washington for jobs and Freedom. (August 28, 1963). http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/speeches/address_at_march_on_washington.pdf. Accessed: February 22, 2009.
New York Times. 2009. Barak Obama’s Inaugural Address. (January 20, 2009). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/us/politics/20text-obama.html. Accessed: February 22, 2009.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
“The individual possesses a self only in relation to the selves of the other members of his social group; and the structure of his self expresses or reflects the general behavior pattern of his social group to which he belongs, just as does the structure of the self of every other individual belonging to this social group.” (Mead, 1934 as cited in Appelrouth & Edles, 2008, p. 343)
Thus, Mead’s theory suggests that structural conditions are not directly involved with the formation of self; on the contrary, that the self only is formed through the continuous relationship within individuals who do not suffer the influence of the social structure they live in. This vision makes it difficult to analyze the pressure that the social structures, such as government systems or religious beliefs, play in the formation of the self. Furthermore, his assumptions would lead one to consider that structural social factors and global political interests are not relevant in the construction of societies.
Have religion, politic, or media a role to play in the formation of the self?
Monday, February 16, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Allan,K. 2007. The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Can charismatic leaders change traditional or rational-legal authority only with their wonderful skills or do they need support from their people?
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
The results of the Becker and Woessmann study (2007) show firstly that Weber was right; Protestants areas were more affluent in 19th century Prussia than Catholic areas. However, secondly, the study shows that it is the acquisition of literacy that accounts for the higher prosperity of Protestants, rather than work ethic and thriftiness. Regarding the issue of whether there is a relationship between religious domination and economic success, Becker and Woessmann (2007) are inconclusive, and assert that this is a difficult question to determine since the spread of Protestantism, and with it, literacy, came centuries before our time of observation, and individuals’ work ethics could have had many different influences (Becker and Woessmann, 2007).
How have work ethics from different cultures affected the Protestant Work Ethic?
Becker, S. O., and Woessmann, L. (2007). Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History. Department of Economics, University of Munich. [Discussion Paper]. Retrieved from: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/ PEPG07-04_Becker_Woessmann.pdf. Accessed: February 7, 2009.
Faber, R. (1998). Martin Luther on Reformed Education. Retrieved from: http://www.spindleworks.com/ Library/rfaber/luther_edu.htm. Accessed: February 8, 2009.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Because social systems are a form of bureaucratic administration, any social system put in place makes overall change harder to enact. Because of this, any imperfect form of socialism put in place will be nearly or perhaps completely impossible to change without a total failure of the system itself.
Socialism, therefore, can only be successfully implemented in one single motion; the entire system must be set up basically overnight before the system congeals, so to speak. It also will not be able to change in response to new situations once the system has been formed.
Based on this rationale, is a true socialistic system even possible? I have heard it said that we have never seen true communism, and that the communism of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, are imperfect expressions of communism. But perhaps true communism is not possible, and all that is possible are imperfect systems that cannot then be improved upon?
Durkheim’s ideas of religion help to clarify its formation, but his ideas are incomplete because he does not consider how and why religions, after their formation, have been used and perpetuated. Although Durkheim’s gives a fair explanation of the formation of the sacred and in consequence the formation of religion, he is not taking into account Marx’s idea of religion as a domination tool. Furthermore, he considers that religion and society are linked tightly to one another, “If religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of the religion” (Appelrouth & Edles 138). Thus, he is establishing a strong link between both religion and society. Durkheim’s concept of religion implies a power that is generated almost inherently from the collective experience. Those ideas are remarkably explicit when he explains the connection between rituals, symbols, and the sacred, “Rituals create high levels of emotional energy that come to be invested in symbols; such symbols are then seen as sacred, regardless of the meaning of the truth-value of the beliefs associated with the symbol” (Allan 85). In Durkheim’s theory, religion occurs as the natural outcome of living in community. He is emphasizing the idea that religions are formed from the people that join in a collective. Durkheim’s theory is naïve since is not taking into account the role that elites’ interests play in the support of certain religious pursues. Is religion a natural product of society or it is a tool of oppression?
Allan, Kenneth. The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory.
Appelrouth Scott & Edles Laura. Clasical and Contemporary Sociological Theory.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
However, as populations grow, their membership tends to become increasingly less similar, more diverse & "specialized in labor." This occurs as individuals work at "impersonal [selfish] companies" doing evermore efficient but mundane & unfulfilling jobs. This "specialized division of labor causes less self-reliance of people, and more dependence on govenment & society for the means of survival.
Monday, January 26, 2009
In our westernized capitalistic world it is easy to be affronted by the ideas of Marx and Engels. Capitalism is so entrenched into every aspect of our life that to criticize it seems as it is to condemn our very lifestyle, but viewed with even the most marginal objectivity one can begin to realize and concede that that the claims made follow a reasonable line of thought and are intellectually satisfying. These ideas also carry significant utility in many social sciences such as criminology and, particularly, political ecology. Irregardless of how applicable the bold predictions may be, the paradigm established by viewing the economic environment as conflicted, divided, and accelerating provides a perception that is essential to critical social sciences and is, of course, the basis of Neo-Marx Theory. Though, to support this doesn’t mean that Marx and Engels are free from criticism. In “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844” Marx argues, “Money’s properties are my properties and essential powers-the properties and powers of its possessor. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality.” This is to say that the monetary exchange system deprives us of individuality, but this is rooted in the idea that the capitalist system has debased all aspects of human existence. In the age of working 14 hours a day, six days a week this would be more striking, but working in contemporary society often allows for a degree of free time, hobbies, and the pursuit of personal pleasures this could be questioned. Marx could, and doubtlessly would, argue that even these are entangled by the capitalist system, but in the day of youtube, blogs, and dare I suggest, myspace, the levels of individual creation has become more accessible and reached levels unimaginable more than a decade before. Another point of conflict is in contemporary society there are many laws in existence that either help the working population (minimum wage, worker rights) or inhibit the owning class from doing as they will (environmental protection). The revolution spoken of in the manifesto often conjures up imagery of the patriotic overthrow of the British Empire or the gruesome slaughter of the French, but rather the subtle political shifts seem to be the more preferred venue of social change by the laboring class.
Do the creation possibilities that people elect to partake in during their free time allow engage our species being, or is this just another means for the capitalist system to infiltrate the lives of the population?
Are the regulations and laws in existence that inhibit the control of the owning class the display that a Marxian revolution is not needed for the interests of laborers to be protected or are these practically symbolic acts used to appease the masses, preventing real change from occurring?