Where do I fit in, and what is my culture?
–Student Panelist at SEWSA 2021*
*Shamrock Green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day
Discuss American’s Perceptions of Congress
I want you to look at “empirical” evidence of what the culture assumes. Of course, this isn’t an enumeration of all people in the US or demographic responses, but we can trust it’s representative. What do we make of the following Gallup Poll results?
- 29% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Federal Government and 55% have an unfavorable one
- Congressional Job Approval Rating Highest in Years…at 35%
- The More You Know about Congress, The Worse You Rate It
Ch. 7: Issues of Subjectivity and Identity
By this point, besides being over halfway through the book, you probably notice that there’s more repetition to help really drive home these theories.
- p. 260: Subjectivity: the condition of being a person and the processes by which we become a person
Self-identity: the conceptions we hold about ourselves and our emotional identification with those self-descriptions
Social identity: the expectations and opinions that others have of us
- p. 261: essentialism and anti-essentialism
- p. 262: From Giddens: “‘Self-identity is not a distinctive trait, or even a collection of, traits, possessed by the individual. It is the self as reflexively understood by the person in terms of her or his biography.'”
- How do we access our biographies?
- p. 263: Sorry Descartes, we think because language supersedes us, and we’re socialized into using it to create narratives.
- Now you don’t need to read Descartes’s Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences.
- p. 264: Economics and Rational Decisions
- p. 264: We make history under the current social conditions
- Let’s consider the technologies of our current social conditions
- p. 270: “The body is the site of disciplinary practices which bring subjects into being, these practices being the consequences of specific historical discourses of crime, punishment, medicine, science, sexuality, and so forth. Hence power is generative; it is productive of subjectivity.”
- p. 275: Sites of Interaction and Posthumanism
Depending on the time, we’re either going to go on break or you’re going to jump to the webpage task below on identity, specifically, the science and technology of identity. If technologies can have politics, can they also have gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, etc.?
Ch. 8: Ethnicity, Race and Nation
We might be at the halfway mark, so let’s look at some media that reflect culturally embedded racism.
- Colonial consumer goods: Pears Soap vs Dove Soap
- Whitewashing Models: Advertising, Deddeh Howard
- “He’s got an Interstate running through his front yard” –John Cougar Mellencamp
- p. 296: “race, ethnicity, and nationality are amongst the more enduring ‘nodal points’ of identity in modern western societies.
- p. 297: “In Britain, America, and Australia the historical formation of ‘race’ is one of power and subordination.”
- p. 299: “whiteness is seen as a taken-for-granted universal.”
- p. 301: “few state have ethnically homogeneous populations.”
- p. 303: The Imagined Community: “National identities are intrinsically connected to, and constituted by, forms of communication.”
- p. 304: “…hybrid cultural identity rather than a homogeneous national or ethnic cultural identity.”
- Code switching
- Intersectionality: the multiple, overlapping, situational, historical, etc. perceptions of difference contribute to discrimination.
- p. 312: “to abandon an essentialist universal condition called ‘race’ does not mean that the social and historical construction of race, the racialization of specific groups of human beings, need also be lost.”
- p. 314: via Gilroy–“Within the West, people who are not white have often been represented as a series of problems, objects, and victims.”
- Is it possible for victimology–constructing an identity as inherently victimized–to be negative?
- p. 314: Although Barker & Jane don’t directly reference it by name, they comment on White American Exceptionalism*–“The social and political subordination of black people was represented as part of the inescapable, God-given order of the universe.”
- *I have no clue why I capitalized this entire phrase.
- p. 316: “Orientalism is a general group of ideas impregnated with European superiority, racism, and imperialism that are elaborated and distributed through a variety of texts and practices.”
- p. 317: Regarding the ‘War of Terror’–“Many people did not seem to recognize that conflict was a two-way street and western cultural and political actions had played their part in the generation of the current crisis…”
- p. 321: “White faces still dominate screens in the West, and many representations of race and ethnicity remain rooted in tropes that many regard as clichéd, oppressive, or otherwise objectionable.
- p. 323: “More often than not racism continues to be treated as an issue of personal illiberality rather than structured inequality.”
- Where can we find examples of systemic racism?
- “I’m not racist, but…[something racist follows].”
- p. 324: “Middle-class black American sitcoms stress material success and the values of hard work, education, honesty, and responsibility.”
- p. 327: “…a celebration and acceptance of black success; on the other hand, it is part of a process by which black success is confined to sport.”
- The New Ghetto Aesthetic
- Menace II Society (1993)
- “…solution is either more police or strong father figures.”
- p. 330: “The consequences of all corporate CEOs being represented as greedy…are not the same as the consequences of all African-Americans being portrayed as criminal or all Muslims being portrayed as violent extremists.”
- p. 331: Video games and ‘race tourism’
- p. 334: “…the real is always a representation. There is no access to ‘real’ black people.”
- But may one claim to be a real of any group?
- p. 339: “women carry a double burden of being colonized by imperial powers and subordinated by colonial and native men.”
Keep up with the syllabus reading.