SOC101 Lecture Notes - Bell Hooks, Antonio Gramsci, Jeremy Bentham

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Published on 12 Apr 2013
University of Waterloo
Chapter 3
Modern Social Theory
What Are Modern Social Theories?
Should not be thought of as completely separate from classical theories
many are variations of the classical theories
looking at education systems and justice systems, which are not doing what we
thought they would be doing. but.... how do we fix it??
Draw on each others work in their formulations
bring influences from classical theorists
people with power: can make decisions that affect the population and our day to
day lives
Theme of power runs through modern theories
Western Marxism
Feminist Theories
– Post-Structuralism
Queer Theory
Post-Colonial Theory
Anti-Racist Theory
Western Marxism
Antonio Gramsci
Diverged from Marx in his analysis of how the ruling class ruled
Domination; physical and violent coercion
in order to control behaviour
Hegemony; ideological control and manipulation
Society’s dominant ideas reflect the interests of the ruling class
the way our society works is perfectly sensible
people think that that is just the way it is-- the way things should and do
involves consent
way of controlling us. sets ideals
Superstructure divided into the state and civil society
Prevailing consciousness internalized by population and becomes common sense
1. Gramsci’s Concept of Hegemony
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Hegemony is a process that is constantly negotiated and renegotiated
Active consent
Hegemony is used as a way to explain how particular features of social organization come
to be taken for granted and treated as common sense
the things we do that don’t make sense... but we accept them
2. Feminist Theories
Feminists differ in their explanation of women’s oppression and the nature of gender and
in their ideas about women’s emancipation
focus on the solutions!!! which a lot of theories aren’t interested in
Core concern for gender oppression
Women and men should be equals
men have social power and thus an interest in maintaining their social privilege over
Dorothy Smith – a Second Wave feminist
bell hooks – a Third Wave feminist
Dorothy Smith
Sociology for women
we can’t study women by using the same research tools that men use. they are
created for men to study men. we need something new!
Her book: The Everyday World as Problematic
begins in the ‘actualities’ of people’s lives, and addresses problems of how we are
influenced by “extra-local” relations, ie. relations with the local schools
“Actual” : where people live and were their reality is constituted through discourse
Discourse: social organized activity among people
Everyday world contains different experiences and thus sees it as the starting point
of inquiry
Standpoint Theory: preserves the presence of the subject as an active and
experiencing person
taking you where you are and telling it to me
Ruling Relations
socially organized practices of individuals
people actively constitute social relations
i’m more powerful than you, you’re less powerful than me
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