AFFECTIVE: Novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about how she got connected to her authentic self. She goes on to talk about how a single story about another person or country can be totally misleading. The fact is that reality has multiple perspectives, ie it is polysemic. We must be aware of the unintended consequences of a single story. Chimamanda Adichie critiqued her own ideas as she explained through various examples, how a single story blinded her, like many others, to the bigger picture or the context in relation to people and nations. A single story creates stereotypes and robs people of dignity. It emphasizes differences rather than similarity. In addition it is crucial as to how a story is told and when it is started. Stories are powerful and can and should be used to empower people.
CENTRAL PREMISE: We are no islands onto ourselves. We are tangled with others in every step of the way. We need others as they need us.
In connecting this video to our course through key sociological terms:
Critical Thinking- it enabled Adichie to see connections and to get beyond the obvious that she was exposed to as a child.
Bracketing- use of pre conceived notions, allowing new thinking..releasing the brackets.
Obvious-getting beyond the surface reality.
Debunking-allowed to challenge the ‘taken for granted wisdoms’.
Sociological Imagination- It allowed the author to connect personal history to social structures and discover and develop her own biography.
NICKLE and DIMED VIDEO: PARAPHRAST!
An undercover journalist sets out to investigate the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act, in the US on the “working poor”. Ms. Barbara Ehrenreich portrays her life undercover working as a waitress and is accompanied by a musical rendition entitled “Nickeled and Dimed”. This is an exposé in which Ehrenreich addresses the “too lazy to work” and “a job will defeat poverty” ideals held by traditionalists. The video correctly highlights many of the difficulties faced by people who work jobs that pay low wages, including the “hidden costs”(e.g., the poor have to buy food that is both more expensive and less healthy than they would if they had access to refrigeration and appliances needed to cook).
I agree that the notion that low-wage jobs require “unskilled” labour is false. Such work required incredible feats of stamina, focus, memory, quick thinking, and fast learning. “Help needed” signs do not necessarily indicate a job opening; more often their purpose is to sustain a pool of applicants in fields that have notorious rapid turnover of employees. One low-wage job is often not enough to support one person (let alone a family). Low-wage workers, recipients of government or charitable services like welfare, food, and health care, are not simply living off the generosity of others. Instead, “we” live off their generosity.
BURKHA WOMAN VIDEO: PARAPHRAST!
Saad Haroon’s ‘Burkha woman’ tells the story of a young man’s fumbling attempt to woo a woman in a niqab. After much cajoling she reciprocates amorously via text message. Modern technology appears to connect the two lovers in a country where public displays of affection and mixed social gatherings are generally frowned upon. The music video, in which Haroon parodies a man in love, makes several tongue-in-cheek comments about the value of the niqab in a society burdened by vapid Talibanization and (as the video attempts to show) the ensuing hypocrisy of those who appear “devoid of sin. I thought that the video was a fantastic bit of social satire. However, there might be some who are insulted by what might be perceived an attack on Islamic values and morals. My suggestion is that this video is an attempt at the ‘lack of’ freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is supposedly guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan; however, in reality, speaking out against Islam, particularly if it is criticism of its prophets or desecration of the Qur’an, in which case harsh penalties, including death are imposed. The discussion with respect to “Burqa Woman” should focus on modesty and rights of women and around the fact that an open, mature and objective discussion on socially sensitive issues ought to take place. Solutions to modern day issues in a highly globalized, fast-paced environment need to be sought, however, question is how so when critical thinking is discouraged and conformity is expected!
SEPTEMBER 8th in class assignment #1…………..PARAPHRAST!
Briefly describe what images/ideas conjure up in your mind when you hear the words social justice. Write them on a piece of paper then join a group and share your ideas.
Social justice is the relative distribution of rights, opportunities and resources within a given society. Social justice is about a ‘level playing field’. It is also about the ‘normative rules’ that are put in place. Social justice is the opposite of social injustice. A ‘socially unjust’ society creates rules that de-value fair and equitable distribution. Essential to our understanding and in context of our course, we need to grasp the connection between social justice, globalization, and terrorism. What happens in one part of the world has ramifications in another part of the world. Media, information and technology play a big part in this globalization process.
SEPTEMBER 13th in class assignment #2…………..PARAPHRAST!
Class Discussion: Who can define the term obvious?
The common sense definition of the term obvious is ‘something that is apparent’, however in sociological terms it actually refers to ‘being in the way’. It in fact hides, conceals and distorts something else. Obvious literally is the focus put on surface realities when in fact those are things that need to be looked beyond. Obvious should be only the preliminary step to examining and analyzing. Social reality has many layers of meaning and each new layer when unravelled, changes the perception of the whole. Obvious is like a ‘facade’. Aphorisms: ‘all that glitters is not gold’, ‘grass on the other side is always greener’, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
SEPTEMBER 13th in class assignment #3 …………..PARAPHRAST!
Class Discussion: Any chocolate lovers? What have my cocoa beans got to do with Canada? The cocoa beans story is a journey along the sociological lane. It is about global sociological imagination. It is about a link between personal biographies and histories. It connects the future, past and the present. This story highlights the integrated and the intermingled in present day. MLK, Jr: ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny’. It is important to remember that the opposite of global sociological imagination is nationalism, isolation and xenophobia.
Journal Entry # 2
SOCIAL JUSTICE IN LOCAL AND GLOBAL CONTEXT. Author: Charles Quist Adade, PhD
CHAPTER ONE-Key concepts and recurring themes.
Journal Method: AFFECTIVE
Premise #1: Critical thinking is the premise of intellectual growth.
Premise #2: Familiarization with key concepts and themes facilitates understanding of a complex issue as social justice
Q. HOW I RELATE TO THE CHAPTER?
A. Having been provided with the ‘critical thinking toolkit’, containing a number of terms and concept as well as key concepts and themes, it was very easy to navigate not just the chapter, it made understanding the concept of ‘social justice’ easy to grasp. I really liked the easy to understand language, the various analogies and stories put forth to explain most terms. These truly help grasp the essence of a term, concept or idea. The way the chapter was broken down was sequential and aided me to pick things up quickly. The concept of Global sociological imagination was of particular interest to me as it was my seminar topic and also because it was brought together beautifully in the form of a personal story by the author.
CHAPTER TWO-Social reality Construction and Global Social Justice.
Journal Method: PARAPHRAST
SUMMARY: Many phenomenons that we take as normal or as granted are indeed not so at all. As an example, the concept of time is but a social and cultural construct. It is based on what sociological term the social construction of reality or simply ‘social constructionism’. Another way to look at social construction would be that there is nothing good or bad. It is people that assign moral meanings to social constructions. In this chapter we also talk about sociological imagination and justice in local and global contexts.
SIGNIFICANT PARAGRAPH, Pg-35: My favourite quote from the chapter comes from Martin Luther King Jr: ‘injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere’ (pp35). I like this quote because in its poetic simplicity we are revealed/explained the meanings of not just social justice but justice in a global sense. From the sociological imagination perspective the forces of history, agency and biography conspire to dictate and influence the life ways, life chances and destinies of all inhabitants of our global village.
CHAPTER THREE-Social justice and the social construction of inequality and difference.
Journal Method: PARAPHRAST
SUMMARY: The social world we inhabit as social beings is not genetically or biologically predetermined, it is socially created. This chapter talks about how the differences and inequalities are in fact constructed, how they are maintained and reinforced. This is explained via different terms such as privilege and stigmatization. We learn that structural violence is the systemic way in which a regime prevents people from achieving their full potential by disadvantaging them politically, legally, economically or by their cultural traditions. Essentialist orientation versus constructionist orientation: Here essentialism states that reality exists independent of our perception, in other words we perceive meaning rather than construct it. Social construction of difference is explained as the process of promoting inequalities or unequal access to resources and opportunities. This process is not natural or biological. Under oppression is the idea of the construction of the ‘other’, as an effective social control mechanism. Invalidation and invalidization myths are the key to unequal relations and social justice. The myths are different in that they are naturalized coding of social meanings and values that have obtained traditional and historical acceptance. Invalidation ideologies are misleading theories with false claim. Stereotyping, prejudicing and framing in the media are world –ordering schemes that help understand a seemingly chaotic reality.
SIGNIFICANT PARAGRAPH, Pg-53, #2: Stereotyping is a way of mutual cognition and it also gives rise to prejudices. Negative experiences make way for more negativity. Although stereotyping appears harmless it gives rise to racial and ethnic arrogance as a result of ignorance.
CHAPTER FOUR-The sociology of human rights and social justice.
Journal Method: AFFECTIVE
Premise #1: Sociology sees human beings as a product of their social, cultural and physical environment. In our globalized world our very survival is intertwined and interconnected in a web of mutuality, reciprocity and dependency.
Premise #2: In order for humans to reach their full potential as social beings they need to live in a society that guarantees them freedom, equality and liberty. Society must create conditions that will make solidarity amongst its people.
Q. HOW DO I RELATE TO THE CHAPTER READING?
A. I am in complete agreement with the English poet, John Doan that ‘we are not an island on to ourselves’. Our lives are inexorably interconnected and intertwined with others like us around the globe. What we do in one part of the world has ramifications across the world. Indeed our beginning socialization is done in accordance with general norms of a larger society as is the fact that some of us turn out good and others as ‘bad apples’. Attempts have been made by the UNO to counter obstacles to human development under the UNDHR which assures certain rights. Then there is the human rights approach which focuses on social inequality and social justice. All of these programs are incumbent upon understanding and defining human rights. These rights are collective as well as individual. While tackling the above one most important concept that needs to be kept in mind is culture. Enabling cultural space is of monumental importance in the present ‘globalized world’. The other universal concept which is crucial in this discussion is social justice. Through this political and economic needs of all members of society at all levels must be addressed. This chapter familiarizes one with various formal definitions and the understanding of the principles, divisions and types of justice. We explore in depth our rights, human rights, structural oppression, characteristics and laws of social justice.
Ch # 4: DRIVING DISCONTINUANCE AND QUALITY OF LIFE AMONG THE ELDERLY
By-Joseph M. Pellerito Jr.
Brief Summary: Qualitative and quantitative research on driving retirement as a negative from the perspective of elders is in conflict. This study uses qualitative research methods to study driving retirement through historical, cultural and social contexts. Variables such as gender, age, location etc are used to better understand social locations and self defined meanings of driving and driving retirement. The chapter makes recommendations for the caregivers and professionals for people affected by driving retirement, disabilities and aging. The intent of the study is to enhance knowledge and understanding of meanings of driving as a meaningful activity and driving retirement as a milestone event in lives of older people.
Pg 77, Paragraph no: 3…explained below!
Being able to drive and have access to an automobile makes for more efficiency on a day to day basis. In the North American way of life it is almost a must to be able to get around by driving. This would be for basic necessities as much as it would be for keeping up with social ties, social networks and vast geographic distances.
Ch # 3: HUMAN TRAFFICING
By –Darrick Brake
BRIEF SUMMARY: A harsh reality for many people across the globe is the accepted norm entailing buying and selling of people of all ages, sexes and nationalities. This is transnational network operating on profits in billions of dollars. Human trafficking highlights that even in a modernized, global, 21st century social world we are still dealing with a problem akin to human slavery. This chapter explores the social problem of human trafficking in the modern context through 4 major aspects. These aspects entail defining the problem; the ‘how’ and ‘who’ of the crimes being committed, focus on victims and actions that address the problem. In spite of major initiatives such as creation of international organizations such as UNDOC and the passing of VTPVA act of 2000, it is still not enough to curtail the spread. One problem being that other countries may choose to not abide by the standards set by the United Nations. VTVPA falls short because the resources and availability of resources provided for by the legislature is contingent upon money that the federal government allocates for such a purpose. Another problem being the expansion of duties expected from law enforcement at all levels as many agencies are overworked or they may not have specialized divisions to deal with such issues. A related problem also is with cooperating and coordinating efforts to prevent prosecute and protect victims with other countries. NGO’s have limited success in this area due to budget constraints. Also they could fall into the trap of becoming more focused on their own political agendas rather than fight trafficking. Overall the impact of these programs is however, significant.
Pg 59, Paragraph no 2:…explained below!
Survival is a basic instinct in impoverished and poor conditions. These conditions are ripe for creating and shaping systems in which traffickers profit on the misery and misfortune of the vulnerable and weak. Family members and parents are brought down to the level that they feel selling children or other members may bring them perceived opportunities (as promised by traffickers), for a better quality of life.
Ch# 2: DISCRIMINATION FACED BY MEMBERS OF THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) COMMUNITY
By-Carry Buist and Andrew Verheek
PREMIS: The authors argue that discrimination towards gays and lesbians in America is as detrimental as racism and sexism. There are problems associated with the discrimination that the LGBT community faces in their everyday life. Sexuality and identity is tied in with social construction of gender and sexuality and the prevalence of hetrosexism in the United States Of America.
This chapter explores what the LGBT community faces in a Political, Legal and Economic context. How in resisting the full recognition of the LGBT community has fostered additional economic challenges. It is indeed evident that resistance still remains towards full inclusion of marriage recognition at a federal level. Most states still deny same sex partners the rights afforded to opposite sex partners. Further housing and employment discrimination continues at a state, federal and local level. Regarding sexuality and identity, it is contended that society creates and perpetuates gender role ideals as a whole and at an individual level, and that these ideals are stale. I too do not endorse the theory that sexuality is a choice. It is more of a biological component of one’s physiological makeup. Sexuality however can be fluid and can change based on social interactions and personal experiences. The process of ‘coming out’ can be extremely personal yet can be political as well. This affects equal rights and anti discrimination legislation. Of concern here is also the increase in hate crimes. Gay marriage also threatens traditional beliefs, a concept illustrated by the queer theory. In regards to housing and employment discrimination is felt most by African American women, women in general and minorities (LGBT included). Under economic marginalization gay and lesbians face discriminatory practices in terms of hiring and termination practices. Both gender and sexuality contain components of performance and social interaction. Societal standards of acceptance and successful gender and sexuality performance are based on heterosexual standards that may help perpetuate or inadequately respond to the discrimination of LGBT community.
Ch# 1: RELIGION AND HOMOSEXUALITY
By-Frank Tridico, Jacob Armstrong and David Barry
PREMIS: Resistance and opposition to the normalization of homosexuality in American society remains visible and religion remains a powerful force in this debate. The relationship between church and state is one of consensus, rather than conflict. Organized religion mimics the state in terms of its organizational structure, conservative ideology, resistance to change and quelling of internal and external dissent.
I agree with most of what is outlined in the chapter. There is resistance and opposition to normalization of homosexuality in American society as well as about political reforms, in the same regard. Religion does remain a powerful force in ongoing debates over the place of homosexuality in American culture. Legal reform of homosexuality in the United States has occurred through constitutional challenges but has met with significant opposition. In advancing the separation of church and state, and by concentrating on political and legal reforms, the movement has helped define legitimacy through the state rather than the church. Within organized religion, homosexuality has faced an overt rebuke. Acceptance of its full identity within political, legal, economic and social contexts is one of covert resistance. The many case examples outlined in the text indicate that there has been significant political and legal rebuff of homosexual’s advances, even within the context of constitutional protection. Without constitutional legitimacy, homosexuality was limited in legal and moral advancement. However, constitutional legitimacy in turn has not extended to the advancement of homosexual acceptance within moral auspices of organized religion.