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Lecture 12

SOCB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Civil Disobedience, Precarious Work

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Jennifer Chun

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SOCB30 Tutorial Notes – Week 12
Questions: What is the symbolic power and how does it differ from structural forms of
worker power? Why does symbolic power matter for socially marginalized and
precarious workers?
What is symbolic power?
Slide 6 of Week 12 slides: Civil disobedience is a form of symbolic power: breaking the
laws to show that the laws are unjust.
Page 13 of Chun 2009 reading: “power of naming”
What is symbolic leverage?
Slide 13-14 of Week 12 slides:
Distinct form of power from structural and associational
Public dramas
Classification struggles
Workers who do precarious work don’t have the same rights. They have low wages and
don’t have enough strength on their own because they don’t have unions and students
can’t support them. They then use social emotions and narratives to catch the public’s
attention with how badly they’re being treated as well as attach themselves to other
groups like student unions or other people that agree with what they’re fighting for
making them have more leverage. They get the public’s attention. What did the social
marginalized precarious workers use to grab the public’s attention? Nurses association
went on strike for better hours and wages. What might be the symbolic aspect of that
strike? The nurses said if they can’t help themselves, how can they help others? Another
example is the caddies and janitors in South Korea. They didn’t have strong unions or
power but started to protest in the streets showing themselves and telling the story
making them gain the public’s attention and have more power then they would’ve legally
had because the employers said they’re technically not a real worker so they
demonstrated to the public that they are real workers with real lives and do deserve the
same rights as everyone else. Some form of media to it.
What is the T.A looking for when marking exams?
T.A is looking for a specific example or quote from the readings or lectures that really
demonstrate that you understood the material. Not just a general concept or definition.
Tie readings into the course material. Example: How does media relate to the idea of
symbolic leverage? Explain how and provide an example.
find more resources at
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