Thursday, May 7, 2009
1. Research methods (structured, unstructured interviews, etc) advantages/disadvantages
2. True & False, briefly explain
3. sociologists definition of "understanding"
4. society's contribution to development of identity - my essay was about 1 1/2 page
5. Globalization - It'll be any of the question from the past papers - about 2 1/2 pages for my essay.
6. Contribution of a sociologist or compare 2 sociologists, etc. I always said focus on Weber & Marx w/ a little sprinkle of Durkheim
7. Section C - My section Racism & Ethnicity seemed to be the easiest, but I wrote almost 5 pages!!!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
According to past papers:
1. Is globalization a new phenomenon?
2. Compare & Contrast any two accounts of globalization
3. Hyperglobalists believe globalization is both new & inevitable. Explain and discuss.
4. The main driver of globalization is technology. Explain and discuss
5. Describe and evaluate any one theory which attempts to explain the processes of globalization, paying particular attention to the idea of a "global village"
Questions for ourselves: Please post your notes & thoughts next to each item and please put in quotes & your name so we know who wrote it.
1. What are the schools of thoughts of globalization?
Global culture theory
A) Marxist theory
B) Evolutionary thoery
C) Convergence theory
D) Structural functionalism
E) Weberian theory "He found that at the end of the Middle Ages, Western Europe's cultural environment favored change...the Protestant Reformation reshaped traditional Christian beliefs to generate a progress-oriented way of life. Wealth - looked on with suspicion from the Catholic church - became a sign of personal virtue, and the growing importance of individualism steadily replaced the traditional emphasis on family and community. Taken together, these new cultural patterns nurtured the Industrial Revolution. Macioncis Chapter 12 (pg 318) - Joon Enlightenement, Manifest destiny, perhaps???
F) Modernisation theory: "A model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences between nations." Macionis Chapter 12 (page 317) - Joon
G)Dependency theory: "A model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of the historical exploitations of poor nations by rich ones." Macionis Chapter 12 (pg 319) - Joon
Historical perspective of the Dependency theory: Dependency theory is based on the idea that the economic position of rich and poor nations are linked and cannot be understood apart from each other. Poor nations are not simply lagging behind rich ones on the "path of progress"; rather, the prosperity of the most developed countries came largely at the expense of the less developed ones. Macionis Ch 12 (pg 320)
II. The globalization schools
A) The sceptics
B) The Hyperglobalists
C) The transformationalists
Chapter 7 of the SG
7.1 Globalizing Technology
7.3 The global economy & global inequality
7.4 What has been the overall impact of economic globalization
7.5 & 7.6 I don't see as too important, if you disagree please note**
7.7 The global village and world culture
i) global technology
ii) Economic globalization
iii) Political globalization
8.1 World - Systems theory
i) The core. This includes strong states, which are fully developed. Wallerstein states Globalization (global stratification) uses a model of the "Capitalist World Economy" He viewed the core as the high income countries, colonialism enriched this core by funneling raw materials from all over the world back to Western Europe to fuel the Industrial Revolution. Today, multinationals channels all the wealth back (repatriation of funds) to North America, Japan, Western Europe & Australia.
ii) The semi-periphery - This includes oderately strong states, for example the 'newly industrializing countries' (NICs) such Malaysia and Brazil as Malaysia and Brazil (however, note that Waters (2001) associates these with the periphery, whereas they are more commonly placed in the semi-periphery).
iii) The periphery - This area including weak and poor states, which are often economically dependant on the core states weak and poor states, which are often economically dependent on the core states, or remain traditionarlly based and undeveloped countries. Low income countries represent the periphery, they are drawn into the world economy by colonial exploitation. Poor nations continue to support rich ones by providing inexpensive labor and a vast market for industrial products.
8.2 Global capitalist theory
8.3 Global society theory
8.4 Global culture theory
The approach of Appadurai (1996)
1. ethnoscapes: flows of people
2. mediascapes: flows of images
3. technoscapes: flow of machinery
4. finanscapes: flows of money
5. ideascapes: flows of ideas
Friday, April 24, 2009
Eight Max Weber fellows from the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, will visit LSE next week to give a series of talks and to learn teaching skills as part of an initiative organised by Academic and Professional Development (APD) at LSE.
The aim of the visit is for the academics to receive ongoing teacher training from the School's Teaching and Learning Centre and to work with foundation students in the LSE Language Centre.
All Max Weber fellows aim to become 'career' academics and are committed to developing expertise in teaching, as well as building up their research profile. APD is helping them do this by giving them training sessions in Italy as well as offering them this chance to spend a week at LSE.
Nick Byrne, director of the Language Centre, is looking forward to the visit: 'Last year was a real success story and we want to build on it this year. The Max Weber fellows are able to bring their expertise to LSE and we can give them the opportunity to work with a variety of students in different contexts. It's great that Academic and Professional Development at LSE has been able to work with talented academics who are so committed to developing their teaching skills.'
The visiting academics will give talks for four evenings next week:
- Monday 27 April, 5pm, room NAB115 - Ekaterina Mouliarova will discuss The EU- Russian Relationship
- Monday 27 April, 6pm, room NAB115 - Ottavio Quirico will talk about A Purely Formal Theory of Law: euclid, law and the school of Athens
- Tuesday 28 April, 5pm, room S75 - Can Aybek will look at Leaving Parental Home in Germany: a comparison of young adults of German and Turkish origin
- Tuesday 28 April, 6pm, room S75 - Sami Miaari will discuss Ethnic Conflict and Job Separation
- Wednesday 29 April, 5pm, room NAB115 - Firat Cengiz on The European Competition Network: structure, management and initial experiences of policy enforcement
- Wednesday 29 April, 6pm, room NAB115 - Fang Xu will look at Testing for Unit Roots in Bounded Non-Stationary Time Series
- Thursday 30 April, 5pm, room NAB115 - Ania Cichopek will talk about Comparative Perspective in Postwar Polish-Jewish History: pogroms in Kraków and Topoľčany in 1945
- Thursday 30 April, 6pm, room NAB115 - Violet Soen on The Challenges of Habsburg Peacemaking during the Dutch Revolt (1567-1598)
These events are free and open to all - to attend simply turn up on the night.
24 April 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Open University Open Learning Page (also has gender identity)
The Open University Page & Table of Contents
The iTunes subscription link
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
USA - view of race grounded in slavery (white & black)
Defense (military) to defend against working slaves & the natives (seen as a threat or obstacles to their expansion)
Enlightenment ideals identified the enlightened races as the "white race" and non-whites being the lower peoples therefore even after the emancipation freed slaves were counted as 6/10 of a person thus ineligible for US citizenship.
The US constitution also defined that only white people were eligible for US citizenship. Subsequent immigrants from Europe (Ireland, Scotland, etc) were looked down upon despite the same skin color, so the earlier settlers identified themselves as Anglos (White Anglo Saxon Protestant, WASP, LOL). Italians were later discriminated against because of their interactions with blacks and their darker tone skin. Exclusions were being made to North Indians who archaeologically were considered "CAUCASIAN".
US blacks is a neo-ethnicity
Ethnicity applied to differentiate from whites. Hispanics conceptualized as an ethnic category independent of a person's racial classification (Mexican, El Salvadorian, Honduras, etc)
Ethnic group/ethnic differences has white connotations in the US.
In the census, originally white/coloured. The Irish were later included in the census (due to the discrimination they suffered). In 1991 Proxy was used, such as country of origin, origin of parents, origin of the Head of Household.
Race in language less prominent than the USA.
Race - US Ethnic - UK
Ethnic awareness borne (during the British occupation) borne of three reasons:
1. Chinese & Indian migration marked off from Malays.
2. Racial difference took official & public form (census, news, policies)
3. Proposition by UK for a universalist constitution.
UK acceded to constitution which guaranteed Malays special rights, and also built a definition of Malay in the constitution.
Malay, Chinese, Indian seen differently in two respects:
1. Political Status: Malays represent themselves as indigenous and the true heirs of the land.
2. Culture - line between Muslims/non Muslims marking the Chinese-Malay boundary.
In order to understand the Malay perspective, we have to understand the language and how it breaks down:
In the Malay language "ras" mean race, racial, the difference is that in the English context, it does not convey a sense of people of common origin.
"rakyat" means folk or people w/ a sense of "common folk or people" (closer to the English meaning of race)
Rakyat Malasia - Malaysian people or nation
Warga - family & people
warga negara - people of the state (citizens)
Kaum - lineage group (can also refer to class, social stratification), loosely common descent & group.
Kaum ciha - Chinese community
Kaum warrita - women's group
Kaum Kaum Kecil - minorities (kecil means small), small group
Perkauman - racialism
Kaum tasam - elite/upper class
Orang - meaning persons, this word may also refer to indegineous people aren't Malay or Muslims.
Orang cina - Chinese person
Orange Malayu - Malaysian person
Orange puteli - white person (used during the occupation)
Orange Canada - Canadian person
Orang asing - foreigners
Orang bukam Melayu - non Malays
Keturuman pendatag - descendants of immigrants, non-Malay, non-asli
Pendatang Haram - illiegal immigrants
Bangsa - Originally referred to descent & community of common origin, etymologically morphed to mean ehtnic/ethnicity.
Because of the residents of East Malay, Sarawah, Sabah, North Borneo despite not being indigeneous to Malaysia were in cluded in the independence negotiation thus the word "BUMIPUTERA" - sons or princes of the soil was born, to identify ethnic Malays.
There was speculation whether this word would last, it's alive and well to this day and used in English language periodicals to separate ethnic Malays to non-ethnic Malays.
USA - race dynamic center on black/white, due to non-white immigration, it became an issue of whites/non-whites
UK - Simple distinction, black/white did not have same social force as US, ethnicity was not a concern, during the 16th century, religion was the focus, then after uniting Scotland, Wales & later Ireland, religion was still the main focus (Protestant or Catholic anybody?)
In the 1950's race viewed as a spurrious scientific term. Academics took the PC (politically correct) route and started writing "Race & Ethincity" as opposed to just "Race".
Malay - an issue between indigenes & in-comers, Muslims vs. non-Muslims, cultural differences, thus Bangsa was born. Basically for Malays ethnicity was a constitutional/political issue to gain their rights.
Race -> Ethnic group: chain w/in society in response to changing social conditions.
Chapter 3: coming soon
1. Race - A group of persons connected by common descent or origin, a tribe, nation or people regarded as of common stock.
2. Nation - An extensive aggregate of persons so closely associated w/ each other by common descent, language or history as to form a distinct race of people.
3. Ethnic - Pertaining to nations not Christians, pertaining to a race or a nation; having common racial, cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics especially designating a racial or other group within a larger system.
Ethnic -> Race & Nation
Let's look at the etymological (the origin & development of a word) history of the word, "RACE"
1600s - nation or tribe of people regarded as "Common Stock"
late 18th/early 19th century: Race to mean "One of the great subdivisions of mankind."
19th/20th century: Science of classifying mankind into physically defined races which were widely believed to be the basis of differences in ability & temperament in a global racial hieracrchy.
1950's: Race was in retreat (preview of ethnic being born)
Let's review the Etymological & historical use of the word:
Race referred ethnic, nation, & common ground
Ethnic -> nations of cultural character, language, difference, foreignness.
Later Race & ethnic became interchangeable.
Race Thinking (by the Nazis)
1. Possible to classify the whole of humankind into a relatively small number of reaces defined primarily by physical and visible differences.
2. Races share appearance, temperament, ability & moral qualities. (Perhaps this is where stereotyping was born???)
3. "Racial Inheritance" physical & moral qualities of the race were preserved through racial descent.
4. Races were hieracrchically ordered with something referred to as the white race being superior to others.
ONE NOTE: Ethnicity does not equal CULTURE
So the evolution of RACE
19th century was subdivision of mankind, then in the late 19th/early 20th century it was used as a scientific classification of mankind.
Race, Racism, Nations, Nationalism
Nations/National = product of modernism
Anhony Smith in his book "The Ethnic Origin of Nations" (1986):
Nationalism extends the scope of ethnic community from purely cultural and social to economic and political spheres; from predominately private to public sectors. To make any real headway in the MODERN world, ethnic movements must stake their claims in political and economic terms as well as cultural ones, and evolve economic and political programmes...Even dominant ethnic groups must turn a latent, private sense of ethnicity into a public manifest one, if only to ensure the national loyalty of their members against the claims of other groups...Nationalism has endowed ethnicity with a wholly new self-consciousness and legitimacy as well as a fighting spirit and political direction. (Smith 1981, pp. 19-20)
Defining the core and the divergences:
Race refers to the descent & culture communities with two specific additions:
1. The idea that 'local' groups are instances of abstractly conceived divisions of humankind, and
2. the idea that races makes explicit referenes to physical or 'visible' difference as the primary marker of difference and inequality.
Nation refers to the descent and culture communities with one specific addition:
The assumption that nations are or should be associated with a state or state-like political form.
Ethnic group referes to descent & culture communities with three specific additions:
1. that the group is a kind of sub-set within a nation-state.
2. that the point of reference of difference is typically culture rather than physical appearance, and
3. often that the group referred to is 'other' (foreign, exotic, minority) to some majority who are presumed not to be 'ethnic'
Friday, March 13, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009; Page A01
Katie Xiao emigrated from China when she was 4 and always thought of herself as Americanized -- until she started dating.
Subtle cultural clashes with Caucasian or Latino boyfriends led to unhappy breakups. It made her realize she's more Chinese than she thought. Now she wants to meet a man of Asian descent.
She has recently gone to a chocolate tasting in the District and a cocktail mixer at Arlington County's Zen Bistro, both catering to Asian Americans and immigrants. She spent Valentine's Day weekend making contacts at a Harvard Business School conference called "Asia in a Whole New World."
Sociologists and demographers are just beginning to study how the children of immigrants who have flowed into the country in recent years will date and marry. The generation that is coming of age is the most open-minded in history and living in the Obama era -- where hues mingle in classrooms, nightclubs and the White House. Conventional wisdom has it that they will begin choosing spouses of other ethnicities as the number of interracial marriages rises.
But scholars delving into the U.S. Census have found a surprising converse trend. Although interracial marriages overall have increased, the rate of Hispanics and Asians marrying partners of other races declined in the past two decades. This suggests that the growing number of immigrants is having a profound effect on coupling, they say.
The number of native- and foreign-born people marrying outside their race fell from 27 to 20 percent for Hispanics and 42 to 33 percent for Asians from 1990 to 2000, according to Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian, who co-authored a study on the subject. The downward trend continued through last year, Qian said.
"The immigrant population fundamentally changes the pool of potential partners for Asians and Hispanics. It expands the number and reinforces the culture, which means the second generation . . . is more likely to marry people of their own ethnicity," said Daniel T. Lichter, a sociologist at Cornell University.
Increasingly, singles are turning to a growing number of niche dating sites on the Internet, such as http:/
Michael Karlan, Professionals' president, said targeting ethnic groups makes sense in the Washington area, which has more than 1 million immigrants. He teamed with the local South Asian networking group NetSAP for a recent event at Gua-Rapo in Arlington that was a noisy sellout with more than 90 attendees.
The 20- and 30-somethings drawn to these events say they have a deep yearning to connect with someone who shares their roots, yet they are conflicted about it. As children, they felt divided loyalties, growing up with one foot in their parents' home country, the other in the United States. Now, as adults, they wonder: Would I be happy with someone as American as I am, or a recent immigrant?
"People grow up the entire time rebelling to our parents, doing everything we could to fit in and spending the majority of our time running away from the traditions and our heritage," said Bhavna Pandit, a political consultant of Indian descent who lives in the District. "Now I'm 29 years old, and I actually care about this stuff." Like many women in the Washington area, she says it's difficult to find a nice guy. And because she's looking for an Indian man, it's harder -- they are in short supply in the Capitol Hill circles she runs in.
Even minor issues can become a big deal, singles say, such as a boyfriend who was wearing a T-shirt with a risqué slogan on it when he went to meet a woman's conservative Iranian parents. One 27-year-old woman is a successful energy financier who goes to clubs in Georgetown but believes an American man wouldn't understand her Indian values. She still lives with her parents in Tysons Corner, and they follow tradition by pooling their salaries as a family.
Researchers spent a decade following 3,300 children of immigrants in the New York region as they navigated adulthood, which led to a study published last year called "Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age." They followed both the "second generation" children born in the United States and the "1.5 generation" -- children of immigrants who came as youngsters -- who were Dominican, Chinese, Russian Jews, South Americans and West Indians.
Researchers found that their subjects were constantly struggling with the desire to be open to people of all backgrounds vs. family expectations, and their own desires to sustain their culture. Most paired with others who shared similar racial or language backgrounds.
Many offspring of immigrants have tradition-minded parents who forbade them to date in high school. Now those same parents are pressuring their children to marry soon after they graduate from college. One Arlington graduate student, 25, fields telephone calls from her mother on the subject daily; she had one date recently, and her mother was already referring to the man by a pet name, which roughly translates from Chinese as "Little Cabbage."
"They make little comments, like, 'Have I found anyone?' and 'We just met our friends who have grandchildren,' " said Rich Park, 33, a Korean American from Annandale. "I want someone who understands what my life story is. I'm the oldest son, so there are some responsibilities I have to do, like be the communicator between my sibling as well as my cousins. If my parents need anything, I'll be the first to be asked."
Their forebears often met spouses through family introductions or arranged marriages. Now families are spread over the globe, and modern love seekers don't want a mate whom their parents found in a note tacked on their temple's events board. The researchers behind "Inheriting the City" found their subjects to be far more open-minded than their parents, whose views could be affected by racial or cultural bias in their home countries.
On a recent night in the back of the dimly lit Zen Bistro and Wine Bar in Arlington, Park and Xiao were among about 30 singles who gathered on bar stools and low-slung leather couches to chat. Karlan moved through the room at four-minute intervals, telling the men when to switch seats. Participants took notes on their prospective dates; they would learn later through an anonymous e-mail system whether they had a match.
One whom Xiao met in recent weeks stands out: a Korean American lawyer about her age. She has seen him a few times.
She is starting to feel "kind of nurturing" toward him. Recently, for example, they were having cocktails at the bar at Zaytinya in downtown Washington, and his jacket collar was mussed. She reached over to smooth it.
She likes his funky black glasses and sturdy physique and the self-deprecating way he writes his e-mails. ("You'll probably find this really boring but . . . " he sometimes writes, prefacing a brainy thought. )
That's very Asian, she thinks. It feels like home.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In historical slavery, whether it was Greece, Africa, Asia or any other parts of the world, slaves were mostly a spoil that went to the victor, and if you were a slave then your children were slaves, in Africa some slaves were held in rather high regards. A great example of this was Joseph, who was sold off by his brothers as a slave to the Egyptians, who later became one of the king's most trusted adviser. Slavery, in this sense was never based exclusively on race, creed, religion, etc. but purely commercial and a spoils of war basis.
So until the recognition that the whites of the United States still acknowledge there is still some subconscious perception of non-whites as less than a full human being, race relations in the United States will stay at the standstill it is to this day. As my theory of "Racial Categoricalism" states, every ethnicity and race is categorized and are compartmentalized and if we don't fit the picture frame we are not accepted.
Anyways, based on all the podcasts I heard (lectures, speakers, etc) I noticed there seems to be two schools of thought nowadays.
Categorization (see prior blog post) and the advocacy of what is outside the box...my question...why can't it be all of the above?
Everybody, from scientists down to the average layperson are looking for the ONE root cause for everything...
Let's look at homosexuality, they say a gay gene was discovered, because of this the "nature vs. nurture" argument has shifted to the nature side of the equation, Christians who seem to ignore all scientific evidence still say it's nurture. Hey guys how about "ALL OF THE ABOVE?" Having the so-called "GAY GENE" may give you a genetic predisposition towards those leanings and may make you a little effeminate (for men) and somewhat butchy (for women), I would say a lot of actors tend to be girly men, non-macho types (Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, the dude from the Transformers), yet they're not gay.
So the question become, how does one become gay? I believe genetic predisposition along with environmental contributions, such as early childhood molestation, automatically drawing to you the same type of persons as yourself and acceptance within the gay community where the person felt like an outcast, then due to the prevalence of metrosexuals (I believe society has, at least some parts, for girly men to be effeminate, LOL), as in mathematics you need more than one variable to find a solution, the human brain is so much more complicated than the most complicated of math formulas, you can't break it down to a handful of criterion but many scientists in their arrogance or perhaps ignorance or wanting to please research underwriters spew off a couple of contributing variables, and don't get me started on modern day research!!!
So that's the first of sociologists, the categorizers, then the second school of thought tries to advocate what's outside of the box of categorization and insist that's right...Me, I just say human beings are complex and dynamic and since we are adaptable, will get in where we fit in, nuff said...
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Through the racism and the stereotyping that ensued, everybody started becoming categorized, and because of those dumb ass psychiatrists and the pseudo doctor psychologists, the box that everybody is categorized into is getting smaller, and even sociologists are starting to become guilty of this micro categorization of societies, groups, religions, etc. Therefore categorism is not just limited to ethnicity/race. Just look at drug addicts, criminals, people from a disadvantaged socio-economic class, sure there are some patterns (correlations), but these idiots by saying correlation does not equal causation, by putting everything into a nice, neat category is in essence are contradicting themselves by saying correlation equals causation by their categorization.
Therefore, I now coin the term "Categorism", where everything is concerned, especially how race is placed in a box. For an example of what I mean, please click HERE I don't consider this racist, I consider it racial categoricalism where Chinese people are supposed to be this way...
Example, (from my observation of living in the US):
Asians (as far as they're concerned we're all either Chinese or Japanese), anyways, we're either model students, chaste, non-sexual beings (at least for the men), skinny, effeminate (men), kung fu fighters or weaklings, for the women, sex toys or chaste or kung fu fighters, submissive.
Black people: Criminals, rappers, athletes, can sing & dance well...
These are two examples I like to use, because I was talking to my white friend the other day and he admitted that if we (Asian & Black people) didn't fit in these categories, it would be hard for him to accept an Asian person or black person that doesn't not fit these neat categorical stereotypes...
Living in South Korea now, when you say caucasians, the first thought amongst the average Korean person (my own informal survey), the categories are for men:
1. All are handsome or good looking (I try to explain that models appear in magazines because they don't look like the ordinary person, yet they don't understand).
2. All caucasian men are tall (I'm 176 cm or 5' 9 1/2"), I'm not short OK!!!
3. They're all English teachers or US soldiers (20 years ago, just US soldiers).
4. They're all rich (think about it, if you're rich would you travel over 10,000 miles for a job? I try to explain that most English teachers are here because they can't find a job where they're from with their liberal arts, history, English Lit degrees and I always say, if you're living and eating well there's no reason to emigrate...
For the women:
1. They will all get fat or they are all fat!!! I'm confused with this one... (Then again, a hot chick in any country has no reason to emigrate, don't call me a chauvanist, guys know what I'm talking about).
Yet caucasians can be outside of these categories and be accepted, even as a Kyopo (a Korean person that lived overseas), I am categorized by Korean people.
The most common questions I heard:
1. Why did you want to come to Korea?
My reponse: Lower crime rate, a homogeneous society (over 20 years of living in a heterogeneous society you want a change!), quality of life, plus living in Asia is very addicting, don't know why?
2. When will you go back to America?
Been there, done that...I'm sick of 4 seasons, if I choose to emigrate again, why do I want to go back to where I grew up? I want to go to a warm weather country, wanna leave behind the cold!!!! This people definitely cannot understand, so my response is America is not the world, there's Europe (which I would rather live in, knowing what I know now), Africa, SE Asia, Central Asia, South America, etc etc etc why limit yourself?
The most common misconceptions of Kyopos (Koreans that lived or grew up overseas):
1. We're all super rich.
2. We all went to great colleges/universities.
3. We all study hard.
4. The world is our oyster.
So, being a Kyopo, if you're not rich and did not go to a great college, people disperse away from you like ( fill in analogy here)...
Just my new theory, perhaps one day it may be published, LOL upon further research.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Prior to and through World War II, 1939-1945, Althusser was involved in the Roman Catholic youth movement and advocated some of the church's more conservative teachings. During the Nazi occupation of France his thinking underwent a radical transformation, as he along with many others embraced Marxist ideologies. During this time he found himself involved with the French Resistance and attracted to one of its more prominent activists, Helene Legotier, eight years his senior and a member of the French Communist Party (PCF). In 1948 Althusser also joined the party. After the war Legotier continued her activism, while Althusser spent most of his time in academia. His lectures and writings became very influential and he was seen by many to be the party's most outstanding intellectual.
Althusser attempted to reconcile the views of French structuralism with those of Marxism by denying the primary role of the individual subject in the face of historically unfolding social structures. His most important works are For Marx (1965), Lenin and Philosophy (1969), and his contributions to a book of essays called Reading Capital, all of which were popular with student revolutionaries during the decade of social upheaval in the 1960s.
While many Marxists were looking for a more "humane" alternative to the totalitarianism unfolding in the Soviet Union and a way to resolve the split caused by the Chinese revolution, Althusser, taking the opposite tack, proposed a purely scientific approach, one he ascribed to the maturing Marx himself in For Marx, (1970). In Reading Capital and in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (1971) he aimed at an objective account of how the total society works from its technological top down, generating the classes that run and do the work of a society. In the latter collection he described how such a structure operates through the languages we speak in common. These, he said, tend to instill in people their sense of reality and of themselves and their social roles, all in the interest of perpetuating the order of the given society: this is the thought-controlling use of language called "ideology."
Althusser sketched the underlying fabric of a society with the help of French "structuralist" theory. This led to the development of a comprehensive and intricate Marxist model for society as a whole, although access to the model is made difficult by Althusser's style and terminology.
In the structuralist view society cannot be understood through the subjective experience of individuals seen as in some way differentiated from the unfolding processes in which they are enmeshed. A society functions as a single organism in a manner determined by its technology and its modes of production. Every individual action is solely determined by its role in relation to that technology. Althusser's critique was partly in reaction to prevailing individualistic philosophies, as well as the increasingly embarrassing historical degenerations of the Marxist system under Stalin. Critics of Altusser's thinking largely objected to the extreme austerity of a system which denies the primacy of the subjective experience, insisting that a system which so entirely subordinates the individual to the "total" structure can never hope to sustain itself in any realm other than the theoretical.
The Chinese experience reminded Marxists that "contradictions" were the essence of their world view; unity is achieved only through the play of opposites, and all "wholes" contain and even consist of the struggles internal to them. As an organism breaks down food to build up nourishment, the state takes life to protect itself. Later disciples of Althusser would point out that both language and personality reveal inherent tensions in the makeup of the self. These as oppositions can be counted on to result in change and progress as they are products of the internalization of "idealistic" structures in the society as a whole. Marxists who preferred to see change as brought on from "the bottom up" (the oppressed, the working class) criticized Althusser for this scheme of resistance from "the inside out" (the repressed inside any group, body, or system: in the economic system, workers). Others found this to be one of his most fruitful new turns of thought.
Gemeinschafts are broadly characterized by a moderate division of labour, strong personal relationships, strong families, and relatively simple social institutions. In such societies there is seldom a need to enforce social control externally, due to a collective sense of loyalty individuals feel for society.
In contrast, Gesellschaft (often translated as society or civil society or 'association') describes associations in which, for the individual, the larger association never takes on more importance than the individual's self interest, and lack the same level of shared mores. Gesellschaft is maintained through individuals acting in their own self interest. A modern business is a good example of Gesellschaft, the workers, managers, and owners may have very little in terms of shared orientations or beliefs, they may not care deeply for the product they are making, but it is in all their self interest to come to work to make money, and thus the business continues.
Unlike Gemeinschaften, Gesellschaften emphasize secondary relationships rather than familial or community ties, and there is generally less individual loyalty to society. Social cohesion in Gesellschafts typically derives from a more elaborate division of labor. Such societies are considered more susceptible to class conflict as well as racial and ethnic conflicts.
Since, for Tönnies, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are normal types, he considered them a matter of Pure Sociology, whereas in Applied Sociology, on doing empirical research, he expected to find nothing else than a mix of them. Nevertheless, following Tönnies, without normal types one might not be able to analyze this mix
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In contrast to pre-modern cultures, "modern time" separates from specific place and acquires a uniformity of measurements across regions through technologies like clocks and calendars. This "empty time" is a prior condition for the "emptying of space," or the separation of space from place. Place becomes increasingly "phantasmagoric," ( a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined) influenced by distant or spatially absent social influences. This separation of time and space has brought about time-space distanciation.
Social activity becomes disconnected from the context of presence, and opened up to the possibilities of change by breaking free from the restraints of local habits and practices.
In sociology, reflexivity is an act of self-reference where examination or action 'bends back on', refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination. In brief, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional; with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a situation that renders both functions causes and effects. Reflexivity is related to the concept of feedback and positive feedback in particular.
An example is the interaction between beliefs and observations in a marketplace: if traders believe that prices will fall, they will sell - thus driving down prices, whereas if they believe prices will rise, they will buy - thereby driving prices up.
The concept of reflexivity
In social theory, reflexivity may occur when theories in a discipline should apply equally forcefully to the discipline itself, for example in the case that the theories of knowledge construction in the field of Sociology of Scientific Knowledge should apply equally to knowledge construction by Sociology of Scientific Knowledge practitioners, or when the subject matter of a discipline should apply equally well to the individual practitioners of that discipline, for example when psychological theory should explain the psychological mental processes of psychologists. More broadly, reflexivity is considered to occur when the observations or actions of observers in the social system affect the very situations they are observing, or theory being formulated is disseminated to and affects the behaviour of the individuals or systems the theory is meant to be objectively modelling. Thus for example an anthropologist living in an isolated village may affect the village and the behaviour of its citizens that he or she is studying. The observations are not independent of the participation of the observer.
Reflexivity is, therefore, a methodological issue in the social sciences analogous to the observer principle. Within that part of recent sociology of science that has been called the strong programme, reflexivity is suggested as a methodological norm or principle, meaning that a full theoretical account of the social construction of, say, scientific, religious or ethical knowledge systems, should itself be explainable by the same principles and methods as used for accounting for these other knowledge systems. This points to a general feature of naturalised epistemologies, that such theories of knowledge allows for specific fields of research to elucidate other fields as part of an overall self-reflective process: Any particular field of research occupied with aspects of knowledge processes in general (e.g., history of science, cognitive science, sociology of science, psychology of perception, semiotics, logic, neuroscience) may reflexively study other such fields yielding to an overall improved reflection on the conditions for creating knowledge.
The principle of reflexivity was perhaps first enunciated by the sociologist William Thomas (1923, 1928) as the Thomas theorem: that 'the situations that men define as true, become true for them.'
Sociologist Robert K. Merton (1948, 1949) built on the Thomas principle to define the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy: that once a prediction or prophecy is made, actors may accommodate their behaviours and actions so that a statement that would have been false becomes true or, conversely, a statement that would have been true becomes false - as a consequence of the prediction or prophecy being made. The prophecy has a constitutive impact on the outcome or result, changing the outcome from what would otherwise have happened.
Reflexivity was taken up as an issue in science in general by Popper (1957), who called it the 'Oedipal effect', and more comprehensively by Nagel (1961). Reflexivity presents a problem for science because if a prediction can lead to changes in the system that the prediction is made in relation to, it becomes difficult to assess scientific hypotheses by comparing the predictions they entail with the events that actually occur. The problem is even more difficult in the social sciences.
Reflexivity has been taken up as the issue of "reflexive prediction" in economic science by Grunberg and Modigliani (1954) and Herbert Simon (1954), has been debated as a major issue in relation to the Lucas Critique, and has been raised as a methodological issue in economic science arising from the issue of reflexivity in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) literature.
Reflexivity has emerged as both an issue and a solution in modern approaches to the problem of structure and agency, for example in the work of Anthony Giddens in his structuration theory and Pierre Bourdieu in his genetic structuralism.
Giddens, for example, noted that constitutive reflexivity is possible in any social system, and that this presents a distinct methodological problem for the social sciences. Giddens accentuated this theme with his notion of "reflexive modernity" - the argument that, over time, society is becoming increasingly more self-aware, reflective, and hence reflexive.
Bourdieu argued that the social scientist is inherently laden with biases, and only by becoming reflexively aware of those biases can the social scientists free themselves from them and aspire to the practice of an objective science. For Bourdieu, therefore, reflexivity is part of the solution, not the problem.
Michel Foucault's The Order of Things can be said to touch on the issue of Reflexivity. Foucault examines the history of western thought since the Renaissance and argues that each historical epoch (he identifies 3, while proposing a 4th) has an episteme, or "a historical a priori", that structures and organizes knowledge. Foucault argues that the concept of man emerged in the early 19th century, what he calls the "Age of Man", with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. He finishes the book by posing the problem of the age of man and our pursuit of knowledge- where "man is both knowing subject and the object of his own study"; thus, Foucault argues that the social sciences, far from being objective, produce truth in their own mutually exclusive discourses.
Reflexivity in Economics
Reflexivity is discordant with equilibrium theory, which stipulates that markets move towards equilibrium and that non-equilibrium fluctuations are merely random noise that will soon be corrected. In equilibrium theory, prices in the long run at equilibrium reflect the underlying fundamentals, which are unaffected by prices. Reflexivity asserts that prices do in fact influence the fundamentals and that these newly-influenced set of fundamentals then proceed to change expectations, thus influencing prices; the process continues in a self-reinforcing pattern. Because the pattern is self-reinforcing, markets tend towards disequilibrium. Sooner or later they reach a point where the sentiment is reversed and negative expectations become self-reinforcing in the downward direction, thereby explaining the familiar pattern of boom and bust cycles Reflexivity and the status of the "Social Sciences" Flanagan (1981) and others have argued that reflexivity complicates all three of the traditional roles that are typically played by a classical science: explanation, prediction and control. The fact that individuals and social collectivities are capable of self-inquiry and adaptation is a key characteristic of real-world social systems, differentiating the social sciences from the physical sciences. Reflexivity, therefore, raises real issues regarding the extent to which the social sciences may ever be 'hard' sciences analogous to classical physics, and raises questions about the nature of the social sciences.
Reflexivity is discordant with equilibrium theory, which stipulates that markets move towards equilibrium and that non-equilibrium fluctuations are merely random noise that will soon be corrected. In equilibrium theory, prices in the long run at equilibrium reflect the underlying fundamentals, which are unaffected by prices. Reflexivity asserts that prices do in fact influence the fundamentals and that these newly-influenced set of fundamentals then proceed to change expectations, thus influencing prices; the process continues in a self-reinforcing pattern. Because the pattern is self-reinforcing, markets tend towards disequilibrium. Sooner or later they reach a point where the sentiment is reversed and negative expectations become self-reinforcing in the downward direction, thereby explaining the familiar pattern of boom and bust cycles
Reflexivity and the status of the "Social Sciences"
Flanagan (1981) and others have argued that reflexivity complicates all three of the traditional roles that are typically played by a classical science: explanation, prediction and control.
The fact that individuals and social collectivities are capable of self-inquiry and adaptation is a key characteristic of real-world social systems, differentiating the social sciences from the physical sciences.
Reflexivity, therefore, raises real issues regarding the extent to which the social sciences may ever be 'hard' sciences analogous to classical physics, and raises questions about the nature of the social sciences.