Week 10: Reading Sociology Part 14

Estimated Reading Time 00:05:43

Reading Sociology

Part 14: States and Government

Chapter 55: Counting, Caste, and Confusion during Census Enumeration in Colonial India
by Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

References Ian Hacking (1990):

  • Knowledge practices, such as census taking, have no innate footing but become powerful ways to characterize people
  • ie. Social construction. The way we classify people induces people to classify themselves and behave accordingly. If they preach in schools that girls are less adept at math genetically, chance are, girls would end up doing less well in math. :\
  • I am whatever you say I am. (If I wasn’t, then why would you say I am?)

The first censuses were kind of confusing

  • At first caste categorization in India (by colonialists) was a very confused process.
  • The first censuses were regional and fragmentary, and a national attempt at 1871 failed miserably.
  • There are way too many caste names and so the British WASPs began abstracting and generalizing to suit their own understanding of India.
  • There were 2000 caste names collected in 1881 but that number reduced to 207 in the general report.
  • “It just didn’t map onto Indian reality.”

And then this mad dude comes in and starts measuring people

  • Risley, possibly high on opium, thought that categorizing caste by anthropometry was a good idea. He takes out a ruler and starts measuring people’s skull sizes, etc.
  • Risley had political intentions: he needs statistical information to determine which Indians to include in the colonial government, so that the British rule in India isn’t threatened.
  • But then he gets criticized and there’s still no definitive rule for categorizing caste in India.

Notable quotes:

What we find is that caste data were read with an eye to creating a national social hierarchy, but that this often contradicted the local and regional character of caste.

Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

Yet, for all the energy put into counting and categorizing caste in colonial India, the colonial state produced an administrative space that was neither statistically sound nor foolproof. Confusion was the rule, not the exception.

Kevin Walby and Michael Haan

Chapter 56: Canada’s Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-1982
by Dominique Clément

Such confusing prose!

  • Began by talking about The Raging Grannies. They hung up undies to fight against uranium mining.
  • These grannies are an example for a social movement organization (SMO).
  • Different from a movement: movements are defined by the beliefs they propagate and their ability to mobilize collective action around those beliefs.
  • SMO also different from interest group, which assumes a clear distinction between civil society and the state, and focuses its efforts promoting the interests of its members.

And then Clément goes on to talk about his book (Canada’s Rights Revolution):

  • First objective:
    • Explore some of the most controversial human rights violations in Canadian history:
    • eg. “man in the house rule”: before 1987 if a single mother appears to be living with a man then she’s ineligible to receive welfare. And so investigators went to their houses sniffing around, looking for open beer cans and raised toilet seats.
    • Civil liberties organizations fight for access to welfare. Human rights organizations fight for amount of welfare.
  • Second objective:
    • Study professional social movement organizations:
    • Human rights organizations focus a lot on the state. But doesn’t direct their attention to private exploitation by corporations, or male power within the family.
    • Individuals and groups can make right-claims that are morally sound. But such a claim is not in effect until it receives support from the state.
  • Author’s Rants:
    • And then the author complained about freedom of information laws. Gee it’s so hard to do research nowadays.
    • And then the author talks about how great his book was by incorporating both English and French sources. It’s the only such book in historical sociology about Canada!

What’s the author’s point? I don’t really know.

No notable quotes. Basically the author saying how great his book was.

Chapter 57: The Economy and Public Opinion on Welfare Spending in Canada
by Robert Andersen and Josh Curtis

Omigaad it’s ♥♥♥♥ Josh Curtis ♥♥♥♥ dearest TA ♥♥♥♥ with cutest baseball cap ♥♥♥♥

The public votes for politicians they like. Politicians want to be liked by the public in order to have power. How does this positive feedback loop work? From 1980 to 2001, Canadian politics has increasingly shifted to the right, with growing income inequalities — why?

Preliminary Research:

  • National differences in public opinion is negatively related to level of economic development, welfare state involvement, and presence of a Soviet-communist past.
  • Social democratic countries are characterized by strong public support for welfare; countries with liberal economies tend to show very little public support for government redistribution and income distribution.


  • When the economy is performing poorly, people tend to be less likely to support increases in spending on welfare, and vice versa. When people have money they want to spend more on welfare. Possibly due to two reasons:
    1. Those with higher income feel morally obligated;
    2. Those with lower income benefit from welfare.

The fact that public opinion follows the unemployment rate and median income suggests that it reflects changes in the business cycle. In short, when the economy is performing poorly, people tend to be less likely to support increases in spending on welfare. Contrary to the vies of policy-makers, we propose quite a different story for the mechanisms underlying the positive relationship between income inequality and public opinion. Our data suggest that people want to remedy inequality.

Robert Anderson and Josh Curtis

Chapter 58: Social Europe and Eastern Europe: Post-Socialist Scholars Grapple with New Models of Social Policy
by Ivanka Knezevic

On the dichotomy between universalistic and targeted policies, the author argues for universalistic policies.

  • Capitalist economy cannot be maintained without social policy (a point that many neo-liberal commentators neglect).
  • Labour is not strictly a commodity — people need to be healthy to be able to work. Pure capitalism leads to exploitation, which commodifies labour. Which means that you are worthless when you catch a cold or something — nonsense! Social institutions that decommodify labour and provide security for the labour force is quintessential.
  • So yeah, universal social policies should not be abandoned. Global recommodification of labour makes universal social policies necessary.

While targeted policies are a part of ‘hard’ [mandatory] EU decision making, universalistic policies […] are relegated to the ‘soft’ policy-making process called the ‘open coordination method’. This is a sort of international ‘hall of shame’, where member states discuss benchmarks and ‘best practices’, and where laggards are brought into line by peer pressure, without any legal sanctions. This non-binding mechanism allows the EU not to enforce even its supposedly most important piece of social legislation — the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which proclaims a variety of human, civil, and cultural rights.

Ivanka Knezevic


Week 10 Lecture Notes – Starting Points Ch. 15

Estimated Reading Time 00:08:12

Lecture 9

Politics and Governance

“It’s really hot over here. That’s why I’ve stripped down.” -Teppy

“Your test scores are probably being posted this very minute.” -Teppy

Median: 75%. Mean: 72.5%

“Today I want to talk about politics. Politics is not my favourite subject, I don’t know why. Every now and then I enjoy talking about it for a little.” -Teppy

What’s the consequence of living in Canada vs. the USA? One major difference is in politics. We can’t compare society without comparing the political structures. These differences come from culture, economics, history, etc. etc.

Defining “governance”
Politics is about states. States govern.
Governance = collective decision making + policy implementation
Governance also refers to all norms and processes related to the delivery of public goods.

“Social institutions are not mortar and bricks. Social institutions are norms and processes. So what do we mean by public goods? It includes things like healthcare, education, etc… that the public relies on the state to do for us.” -Teppy

So you are turning over a large power to the state.
Governance encompasses the regulatory framework and authority of the state. It’s about the state but also how the state affects the non-state (i.e. things like family, markets, etc. etc.).

You’d think families are private. But the state is interested in the family as well.

“There’s a very strong connection between the state and non-governmental networks which also delivers public goods.” -Teppy
e.g. University of Toronto relies on the state. For funding. State also direct the U of T. Should the state remove funding this is a huge crisis.
e.g. NGOs, professional associations (P. Eng., CMA, etc.)

How to measure good governance
The World Bank has developed six measures of good governance:
1.Voice and accountability
2.Political stability and absence of violence
3.Government effectiveness
4.Regulatory quality
5.Rule of law
6.Control of corruption
e.g. Norway does exceedingly well in all these dimensions.

Related concept: governmentality
“Governmentality” — a term invented by Michel Foucault in 1978 to describe the development of modern states and of liberal political economy

How does the state accomplish “rule”?
-Foucault’s work broke with critical social science literature
-he sakes not “who benefits” but rather what and who is being governed — and how.
Post-Marxism (Foucault): the state is distanced (a little bit) from the ruling class. Marxism is an oversimplification.

State rule and non-state (e.g.) rule are connected
-Governmentality studies put aside the distinction between state and non-state governance.
-In this way, Foucault broke with the Marxist approach

The trick is getting people to rule themselves.
-Foucault interested in the rise of science.
-Foucault examined liberalism’s promise to govern us by aligning governing objectives with out desire for autonomy.
-i.e. to connect freedom with public constraint.

Debate: university is not producing enough technicians, artisans, crafters.
Government might decide to raise tuition to reduce number of people receiving education — this is influencing the members of the non-state!

People behave themselves by striving to achieve normality
“Governmentality” — manipulating notions of normality.

-refers to innovations, roughly originating in late 18th century Europe
-controls “populations” without laying down prohibitory rules or individually disciplining deviants.

Interesting fact: number of diagnosable illnesses increased over the past 50 years!
Illness is a social acceptable form of deviance. What we’re doing is saying that the medical profession is having more and more power to excuse people.

Incentives and expert knowledge
-In general, governmental power tends ot work on people indirectly
-by incentivizing and rewarding certain activities
-by using expert or state knowledge to do so.

Some differences between political sociology and political science
-**Political science** deals mainly with machinery of gov’t and public admin
-**Political sociology** deals with relations between political institutions and **other social institutions**.

Central concern of political sociology: bases of authority
TRADITIONAL: e.g. Louis XIV of France
By the end of WWI almost all traditional rulers (in Europe) are gone.
CHARISMATIC: e.g. Adolf Hitler
Charisma is known by its effects, not its traits.

Rational-legal authority
Cf., Foucault on governmentality
Most common type of authority in modern states.
Absence of rational-legal authority -> “failed” state.
Beaureaucratic organization: characterized by rational-legal authority
Legitimacy of authority depends on codified rules

Example of the sociological approach: Seymour Martin Lipset’s “First New Nation”
-Examiens role of politics in making American society different from others
Lipset: a Marxist. Why didn’t the Marxists find success in the United States?

Key features of the US:
1.Revolutionary war
2.Commitment to two core values: equality and achievement
These values form basis of all American institutions: family, school, politics, etc.

The role of revolution in nation-building
-The American revolution established a basis for legal-rational authority (don’t need to listen to the Queen anymore)
-Created a new republic
-Created a new set of **constitutional** rights
-Created a new sense of community

Sociologists also study the role of class influence in modernization
B. Moore (former Marxist) explores connection between class influence and type of state
-compares societies in examining democracy, equality, and class formation
-disagrees with Marx’s view that working class revolution would produce equality necessary for democracy
-also challenges “modernization theorist” who believed in only one route to modernity

The way a state becomes modern:
-upper class (and military) domination leads to modernity through fascism (Germany, Japan, Italy, etc)
-middle class domination leads to modernity through liberal democracy (states)
-peasant domination leads to modernity through communism (China)
-so far, no working class domination has led to modernization

Moore believed “bourgeois revolution” brings western democracy in **5 ways**
1.Undermines role of monarchy or aristocracy
2.Moves rural economy to independent small farming, away from large feudal estates
3.Helps eliminate impoverished peasantry and landed classes dependent on this exploitation
4.Makes bourgeoisie less likely to ally with aristocracy against peasants/workers (as in fascism)
5.Breaks from the past, economically, politically and ideologically
Like Lipset, Moore focuses on the occasional importance of violence in setting democracy

Like Lipsets, Moore sees the value of cross-national comparison
-Both use cross-national, comparative and historical research, like Marx, Weber, Marx, etc.
-Comparison helps to identify laws of societal change
-also useful in studying “failed states” (more later)

One commonality between successful modern states: rule of law

Without written rules…
-you can’t have rule of law
-you can’t have predictable economic life (economic growth, investment)
-predictable social life (e.g. in families, schools, workplaces)
-systematic growth of science and technology

Features that distinguish the top 10 “failed” states form sustainable states
-include demographic pressures, refugees, civil war
Also important:
-corruption, low confidence in government, inability to control economy, and no rule of law

Most sustainable state: Norway
Most failed state: Somalia
Question of interest: what combination of social, historical, political, economic, and cultural factors **produce success**?

Not all rational-legal states are just or sustainable
3 types of rational-legal state:
**Authoritarian**: use force to ensure compliance
-leader is often dictator
-often cooperates military, church, multinational corporations
e.g. South American countries (Argentina)
**Totalitarian**: more extreme, stable versions of authoritarian states
-intervenes in both public and private life: complete loyalty and compliance
e.g. China?!!?!?!? (One child policy)
**Liberal-democratic**:meow mewwowow

“Telling people how many children to have is an extremely totalitarian thing to do.” -Teppy

Authoritarian state controls people mainly throughout he military and church. e.g. many latin American dictatorships

Totalitarian state controls all social institutions, including schools and families

By contrast, a liberal-democratic state reflects the goals and values of lalalalla

Types of Liberal Democratic State (most sustainable)
In ancient Athens, all citizens would come up to one place and talk about politics.
This is cool, but majority of Athenians were non-citizens.
Impossible in Canada.

We have **representative democracy** with **constitutional monarchy**.

Ways of voting
-Methods of voting vary between democracies
-Canada uses “first past the post” method
-Candidate with most number of votes in riding is the winner
-A popular alternative is **proportional representation**

Mainstream and minority parties
-Only liberal and conservative parties have ever held federal government
–never NDP
-NDP began as Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)
–socialist, farm, co-operative …

Many groups are unrepresented
-The Canadian voting system leaves many unrepresented.

“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister.

“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister.

“60% of Canadians voted for Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper is the prime minister. Are you seeing a problem here?” -Teppy

Voter turnout
-Voter turnout has steadily declined over years to about 60%
-Younger people less likely to vote
-Those with higher education, boring in Canada or living in Quebec are most politically active

(Non-Democratic) Elites in Democracies
-C Wright Mill’s “ruling elite theory”: in liberal democracies, a small privileged groups controls society
-elites share similar interests and views, serve on same boards of largest companies, and create networks.

-There is Canadian elite at top of corporations, linked through common networks and ideas about power

The (partly) autonomous state
e.g. Supreme Court of Canada (not swayed by politics)
-The state usually tries to resist short-term demands from ruling elites (e.g., to reduce elite taxes) to fulfill longer term goals (e.g., to educate labour force)
-Neo-Marxists view state as partly autonomous — not always responding to demands of elites

The development of citizenship rights
-In England, legal rights developed over centuries
-By 18th Century, fair and predictable treatment was common in law courts
-Political citizenship developed in 19th century
-but women in Canada did not get right to vote until 1919
-Social citizenship developed around Great Depression in Britain, Canada, and US
-social safety nets like welfare, health insurance, old age pensions, etc.

“Neither legal citizenship nor political citizenship mean anything without effective social citizenship.” -Teppy

Week 10 – Starting Points Ch. 15

Estimated Reading Time 00:16:25

Starting Points

Chapter 15
Politics and Ideologies

Political sociology ≠ political science. Sociologists study how power is converted into authority.

Canadian politics has been messy prior to 2009, before Stephen Harper’s majority government. Campaigns focused on dividing Canadians rather than uniting. How can politicians win back the trust of citizens? How can Canadians regain interest in the state?


Barrington Moore (critical theorist), Talcott Parsons (functionalist), Seymour Martin Lipset (functionalist), and George Homans (functionalist) are some important people.

Talcott Parsons is a leading functionalist. Wrote about politics in his book The Social System. Argues that families, small groups, large organizations, empires, etc. all have a political process — the goal attainment function — which is not so much tyrannical as functional. (Well, he’s a functionalist). These social systems need this function to survive.

Parsons is being philosophical rather than quantitative. But what he’s saying makes sense. Politics is everywhere. You think you can buy a cup of coffee without invoking politics? Think again.

Seymour Martin Lipset’s book Political Man is more quantitative. Deals with questions like “what social conditions and processes promote democracy?” It’s so political, man!

Michael Adams of Environics (a public polling firm) is well known for his many books of political commentary and analysis including Sex in the Snow and American Back Lash.
(“Political commentary”? …Yeah right.)
His beliefs are like Lipset’s. What are his lips set on?

George Homans is a functionalist who focuses more on the microstructure of politics. Homans studies humans and wrote The Human Group. Responsible for social exchange theory. Showed that small groups rule themselves through informal control — “small group politics”. These control include exclusion or ridicule towards anyone who deviates too much. Homans looked for the payoff — why people value such self government in small groups. In this sense he’s not unlike Erving Goffman.

Functionalists are all nice and cool but we’re gonna be critical. Here comes Barrington Moore. Essentially his argument runs as follows:
During modernization, if the majority is:
-middle class, you will get democracy.
-peasant/proletarian class, you will get communism
-traditional ruling class, you will get fascism.

Classic Studies: The First New Nation

What distinguishes the Canadian society and what role does politics play? Lipset compares US and Canada and tells us the answer in The First New Nation. What he’s really interested in was in the US but hey, at least he talks about Canada!

Lipset compares US to Canada, Australia and the UK and found several important US features. US is the only one to have a revolutionary war. It is founded on a contradiction: the contradiction between equality and achievement. Indeed both values are equally present and both were, in a sense, born in the American revolution.

The American Revolution came to symbolize the birth of the world’s “first new nation”.
(With the then young, vibrant humanist idea that all (hu)man are born equal. Until the fall of the US dollar of course. The privatization of the Fed Reserve paved the way to manipulation.)
Religions and the labour movement were both important driving forces. Religious fervour stimulated morality, and trade union movements stimulated class awareness and moved the American society into a more egalitarian one.

In comparison, UK is super elitist. Those British snobs. Canada is pretty elitist too and as a result don’t put much emphasis on equality of opportunity. Australia, on the other hand, is more egalitarian but with less populist politics (because it never had a revolution).
Elitism ranking: UK > Canada > Aussies > US

Why is Canada less egalitarian than the US?
“The US was born in blood.” Revolution followed by a civil war.
“Canada was founded in peace.” Pro-English Loyalists fled US to found Canada.

Lipset rooted his study in the humanist tradition of Max Weber. His analysis sheds light on newly emerging nations in Africa, Asia, South America, etc. Influential and praised by Parsons.

McCormack says Canada isn’t elitist at all. Cunliffe wonders Lipset’s correlation of war and the American character. “A third critic” (sic!) wonders how much Americans value equality.

Political Science and Political Sociology

It’s easy to confuse the two. Both study the state and social policy. Political science deals mainly with machinery of government and public admin. They read in libraries and philosophize.
Political sociology deals with the relations between politics, social institutions, ideologies, and culture. Sociologists also study POWERRRRRRRR. They do surveys and talk to people.

Political Authority

Authority is good for politics. Weber classified it into three: traditional (how’s it’s always done), charismatic (hey babay, gimme everythang tonight), rational-legal (what makes sense and is lawful).
Charismatic subverts traditional. Rational-legal is formalism (i.e. bureaucracy).
Rule of law is the reasons modern states much follow strict rules to preserve public legitimacy.

The State

Three types of modern states: authoritarian (Mumbarak), totalitarian (Stalin), and liberal-democratic (Obama).

Authoritarian and totalitarian are both dictatorships but totalitarian is harsher and often more stable. Democracy is modelled on ancient Greek city-states and is (supposedly) run by the people. Athens at the height of its democracy had 300,000 people and about 30,000 adult male citizens.

Canada is a representative democracy. We vote for a person to vote for us. It is also a constitutional monarchy which means the Queen is inherited but controlled by Parliament. This is in contrast to la république.

Canada has constituencies. Candidates has to win the constituency to win a seat in the Parliament. Sometimes this means that a minor party is not represented. In Italy they have proportional representation, where vote total is tallied up, and the Parliament chairs are divided up according to popular vote, not according to constituencies.

We also have lobby groups and stuff. Next chapter.
People’s political participation is a function of demography, social elements, and psychology.

According to democratic pluralism, all citizens have the chance to voice their views and pursue their interests in a democracy. State should be neutral. But there are still problems.

Gender and the State

The feminists strike! State is an institution permeated by gender inequality. McIntosh (1978) says state encourages employers to take advantage of women’s free services. Brodie (1996) says state policies promote women’s subordination. Beaujot and Ravanera (2009) say that lack of childcare prevents women from working outside the home in Canada.

Women are under-represented in the government. In 1918 (1940 in Quebec) women gained suffrage. In 1929 women were declared “persons” and were given rights that men enjoyed theretofore.
Today women make up 22.1% of Parliament with 68 MPs. The higher the position the less likely a woman will occupy it. There has been one prime minister in Canada — Kim Cambell. Also our governor general were women. Three of them in fact. Look we are being to nice to the women.

Poli. sic. Bashevkin (2009) bashes Canadians for being uncomfortable to put a women in a position of power. Incidentally when voter turnout is high more women are elected into office.
Women’s lack of participation is not by choice but by a glass ceiling. Also family takes time. Most Canadians want more women in politics. Canada is behind in proportion of female politicians. (Well what you do expect, Canada is traditional.) Sweden for example achieved gender equality in politics.

Politics in Canada: a Primer

The Canadian state is a complex system not unlike the DNA polymerase which needs primers. Jk lols I don’t know what I’m talking about. Power of legislation is divided between federal and provincial governments. Federal-provincial relations tend to dominate Canadian political discussions.

As of now only Liberal and Conservative parties have governed federally. NDP is socialist and wins 10-20%. Bloc Québécois, Alberta Alliance (conservative), and Green Party are some more parties. Yay parties. I love parties.

In practice many voters are unrepresented. First of all, not all voters vote. Second, ridings vary in size. Third, it’s not the party that wins most overall votes win, but the party that wins the most seats.
(Kind of like in tennis how you can win more points and still lose a match. It’s the set points and break points that truly matter).

A party that wins 40% of votes usually wins. In 2008 the Green Party won 6.8% of votes but no seats. Research shows that the more visible a party is the more likely it’s gonna win. Voter turnout has been decreasing. Young people less likely to vote. Canadian voting is kinda boring. Obama on the other hand is a whole other sensation.

Classic Studies: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Foucault shows that even democratic states can be dangerously powerful. One trend in modern states is increased surveillance. Punishment has a long and illustrious history beginning with the Code of Hammurabi. It punished crimes with death, dismemberment, or exile. There were no prisons though. Even in medieval Europe punishments had to be quick and inexpensive. There were public displays of torture.

But what if the victims gain sympathy? That’s not good. So prison was invented. Critics say that punishment is supposed to deter crime, not cause unrest. People kept criminals behind bars and out of public attention.

But there is physical discipline in prison, often for extended time. Record-keeping became an important part of control and punishment, with the people in power set about to record as much information as they can, to better regulate and examine criminals. Knowledge was used not to empower people, but to control and disempower them.

Another technique for discipline was surveillance. Echoing Jeremy Bentham’s idea of the Panopticon — a prison where guards can always see the prisoners, but prisoners cannot see the guards, so that they do not know if they are watched. This uncertainty leads to self-regulation.

But we can extend this analogy. From the moment we are born, we are disciplined and socialized — especially by “total institutions” (à la Erving Goffman). Today we are constantly monitoring and disciplining each other. (Somebody’s always watching youuuu……) So contrary to Marx’s prediction, our alienation lies not in isolation but in engagement with one another as guards and prisoners.

As a result, we get political stability! We think of the criminal as a deviant, and we should fix the criminal and not the government. Additionally, the class basis of punishment is driven underground. Rule breaking is bad. Rule making and rule enforcing is good and people respect you for it.

Goldstein (1979) says that some observations in the book are unsupported by evidence. Evidence is ethnocentric and of French origin (Shelly, 1979). Garland (1986) doesn’t like Foucault “for this and other reasons” (sic!).

But still, Foucault’s theory of power is real good. Power is progressive as well as oppressive. And Foucault can be considered a logical successor to Weber.

The Political Role of Ideology

As Antonio Gramsci noted, capitalism maintains control not just through violence, threat, and coercion, but also throughout he manipulation of ideas and ideologies. The bourgeoisie set the standards of normality and morality. So the working class thinks what’s best for themselves is the same as what’s best for the bourgeoisie.

To change this situation, the working class must develop its own culture. This culture would attract the oppressed and the intellectual classes to the cause of the proletariat. You must break out from the dominant ideology.

Whether an ideology is “dominant” is something we can learn only through research. But American culture, for example, places high values on heroism and war.
Most modern people believe “I choose my own path”. This can be related to (perhaps) Darwin’s survival of the fittest or the Calvinist work ethic. Ideologies explain how society is organized — who gets rewarded and why.

This ideology tends to focus on individual problems and often does not notice a social trend (microscopic). Some that this ideology blames the victim for social inequality. In the end, this ideology makes people politically inactive — why does others’ lives matter to yours?
This ideology though is dominant in Canada.

Ideologies and Public

One approach to politics distinguishes between the ruling and the ruled. What is the public? Any given public is an unstructured set of people who hold certain interests in, views on, or concerns about a particular issue. Ideologies structure this public’s participation in society.

Normally public members don’t talk to each other but they are the vox populi. The media spews out news in clusters to move the public into the decisions the media wants. The bandwagon effect is present which encourages journalists to report propaganda under the guise of news.

Ideologies and Action

Ideologies that propose change are either radical or reformist. Reformist is minor while radical is major. Providing health care/child care/etc. would be a reform. Changing the government from a capitalist one to a socialist one would be radical. Killing off every other human being on Earth to make sure that you are the sole ruler is a pretty radical idea indeed.

These ideologies are also called counter ideologies. They usually arise from inequality or abuse. They spread through the educated — the intelligentsia. These counter ideologies challenge the harm done by the dominant one.
The dominant ideology, for example, instills false consciousness — leading people to blame themselves after losing an unfair game.

They that are discontented under monarchy call it tyranny, and they that are displeased with aristocracy call it oligarchy; so also, they which find themselves grieved under a democracy call it anarchy.

-Thomas Hobbes.


Coolest name in the book, hands down.
I’m just gonna spell out his full name every time I mention him. Can’t help it — it’s too much fun!

Frankfurt school. Criticizes capitalism, science for destroying nature, religion for not making sense. Argued that the process of social learning is dynamic and unpredictable from one epoch to another, not linear and progressive as Marx said.

To Jürgen Habermas, rationality must go beyond strategic calculations. We must form a community and seek mutual agreement. This is “communicative action”.
(Kind of like how Khas united the Protoss with Khala. Or if you are mathematically inclined, like what Nash’s game theory did to Adam Smith.)

Jürgen Habermas suggests that in a “deliberative democracy”, citizens would thoughtfully debate and rationality would prevail. But such a process could be skewed by the inequalities and divided interests created by private ownership.

Jürgen Habermas’s invented terminologies:
-“communicative action”: process through which actors in society seek to reach common understanding and to co-ordinate actions by reasoned argument, consensus, and cooperation rather than strategic actions for their own goals.
-“lifeworld”: term invented by German Edmund Husserl. For Jürgen Habermas the lifeworld consists of informal, culturally grounded understandings and mutual accommodations, rooted in widely shared social and cultural arrangements.

-Muller-Doohm (2009) notes that Jürgen Habermas does what’s described above. Doohm is a pretty fun name too though gotta say.
-Pederson (2009) describes how rational reconstruction is used in Jürgen Habermas’s political theory.
-Roth (2009) notes that defining “truth” can be troublesome, and sociologists should look for understanding rather than truth.
-Heath (2009) notes that the social science that underpins Marxism is obsolete, and analytical Marxism by Jürgen Habermas seeks to update it.
-Keat (2008) (his plural form would be a British poet) says that Jürgen Habermas contributed quite a but but fails to show how political ethics can truly be independent of other moral and practical concerns.
-Hall (2009) (his plural form would be cough drops) asserts that methods of historical sociology face research problems. To solve them we need to “analyze the interplay of multiple social temporalities”.
-Benson (2009) notes that the reach and influence of media is described by Jürgen Habermas. But criticizes that Jürgen Habermas takes the media as a given. Media is changing too.
-Edwards (2009) (his single form would be a glittering vampire) explores how Habermas’s concepts of communicative action and colonization might aid in the revival of UK public sector unions.
-Wicks and Reason (2009) daw on Jürgen Habermas’s reasonings and Reason that success or failure of a research project often depends on what happens at the beginning of the inquiry process.

So Jürgen Habermas made the Frankfurt School part of C. Wright Mills’s “sociological imagination”.


What more can be said of politics, after giants like Marx, Weber, Gramsci, Foucault, and Habermas have spoken?

Vampiric-Politician Hunter
Rosemary Hunter (2007) has a name befitting of 19th century Transylvania. Instead of fighting Dracula, she notes that even though policy makers label themselves as non-theoretical, but there are major debates between critical theorists and postmodern theorists in the political realm. What kind of theory would we like? How can policy makers make reliable decisions if they can’t even explain their theories effectively?

A Real Man Fears Not His Past
Zizek (2008) writes that in this era of rapid change we abandon old social forms. We think we are in the postmodern era. But in fact the old can survive. Quotes Blaise Pascal’s question: how can we remain faithful to the old in new conditions? It is only through addressing this question can be create something new.

Start Anew
Cassinari and Merlini (2007) has names that sound like cocktails in a chic jazz bar. They note that “modern West” include characteristics like free-market capitalism, individual property, democratic rule, civil society, etc. But the postmodern West is ahistorical. There is no temporality. This poses problems of belonging and continuity.

High Five!
Fives (2009) say that while post modernists defend democracy, they do so in relativistic terms, not absolute modernist tones. Liberal democracy is not good in itself, it’s just better than everything else.

Ha, We Told You So
Kurnik (2009) notes that the current crisis of capitalism (2009 financial crisis) highlights the troubled role of labour in modern society. Only “transformation of labour” can help you now. We call for a revolution.

A Nickel for Your Thoughts?
Nickel (2009) says it’s difficult of combine critical theory and postmodernism in political analyses of the modern welfare state (e.g. Canada, Norway, Luxembourg, Australia). Slogans obstruct critical thinking, yet slogans are pragmatic.

We Are Getting Soft
Rostboll (2008) note that efforts to combine political liberalism and critical theory obscures some important differences between the two traditions. The theory of deliberative democracy has converged around a less critical and more pragmatic view of freedom: the acceptance of status quo. Critical theorists need to resist this convergence.

Do Not Compromise
Tassone (2008) notes that critical thinkers like Habermas have tried to find a place for morality and ethics in a capitalist society. But capitalism is fundamentally immoral. There can be no right way of living in a wrong society.

The World as a Colosseum
Baral (2008) analyzes the 9/11 and terrorism. In a tone reminiscent of Baudrillard, he argues that human degradation has become a violent spectacle in which we all participate at least as spectators. Every local, wrongful death, however minute, stands as a representative of the mass, global destruction that results from a violent exercise of state power.

Look at It Another Way
Kristjanson-Gural (2008) wants to merge critical and postmodern approaches. “Postmodern Marxism” isn’t morally relativist, but it offers new insights.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Grosfoguel (2007) suggests that “radical colonial critical theory” can provide a southern, thither than capitalist, perspective on Third World colonialism and nationalism. In this view, there is no postcolonial era, the legacy of formal colonial rule lives on as “coloniality”, or continued domination. Yes, we are still subordinates to the Queen.

Eddy Says
An important figure is Edward Said, discussed in “an earlier chapter” (huh?). His work is on Orientalism and the “Other”-ing of non-Western peoples. Lima (2008) says Said shed further insight into imperialism: 1) the US hegemony works against a democratic world order, 2) fights for independence and liberation carries moral risks for less developed countries, and 3) Westerners is still prejudiced against Arabs and Muslims because they don’t understand the Muslim culture.