SOCB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Symbolic Power, Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Cultural Capital

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9 Apr 2016
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SOCB30 Week 13 Notes
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Recap Symbolic power: Various methods help cultivate symbolic power and cultivate
some set of ideas about what the social world is actually like or what it should be. Public
spokesperson=anyone from a political leader to anyone who speaks up about a social
issue. Public mobilization is also an important way to exercise symbolic power; usually a
numerical visibility. Hot to authorize and give legitimacy to the idea that your version of
the social world is authoritative, should be compelling and should have weight and
influence over how policies are made, how people should behave, how resources should
be distributed. Can do this starting a petition or go on the streets. Alliances are another
way to make your version of the social world authoritative. Not everyone has the same
type of symbolic or political capital. Differential influence. Alliances for groups or person
with less legitimate authority view the world with influence. How can individuals and
groups convert symbolic power; power to name and define in terms of perception and
evaluation into other forms of capital? Public drama: if we had certain groups that were
subcontracted that were immigrants and women in socially devalued types of jobs like
janitorial work who experienced a violation at work tried to form a union and claimed
that this was a violation and employer don’t respond. Examples: South Korea women
janitors and hospital support service workers.
Who depends on symbolic power? Powerless groups often rely on symbolic power
because these individuals and groups often lack other forms of power and other forms of
capital. If it was easy to overturn rules, they wouldn’t have to go through all that they did.
Usually in the face of opposition, contestation but also silence. Injustice occurs behind
closed doors and behind the public eye. Symbolic power is to make visible the invisible
forms of power exercised on subordinated or marginalized groups.
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CBC News: Individuals and groups that confronted silence and non-response on an issue
and turned a local incident into something global. Andrew Loku case and institutional
police violence. No punitive measures and officers were justified. Institutional systemic
violence against particularly black men. Black lives matter: this isn’t an isolated incident
but part of a larger problem. They expose internal divisions and hierarchies because
what’s at stake is very normative claims.
Recap symbolic struggles: Whose version of the social world is actually authoritative
and true? How do powerless groups or groups with unequal access to social, political,
economic and cultural capital actually win their struggle for public recognition?
Symbolic struggle and an abstract public. There are multiple publics and contestations.
Storytelling as a way of sharing the issue.
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