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April 3 - Lecture Notes

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Political Science
POLS 2940
Sandra Withworth

April 3, 2013 *prof wants to finish some of her comments from last week then will go over study guide*  Last week we spoke about social movements  One of defining features of social movements is that they’re attempting to redefine the political o To draw our attention to issues that activists feel either are not understand as political are have not received sufficient attention by traditional political actors o Or around which they feel traditional political actors like states have an incapacity to deal with o Or sometimes the concern that traditional actors have too much control over issues  Notice that anti-globalization activists tend to organize around a concern that many of those post WWII institutions that were set up to manage trade or the monetary system, the way in which they have developed and evolved – now in this era of globalization, they have way too much control over our lives in areas that they never intended to address  Part of the anti-globalization activism that we saw a little over 10 years ago was aimed at drawing everyone’s attention to these are political issues, they matter, we need to pay attention to them – care about what these institutions do  As described last class, earlier movements especially form the 1960s around civil rights, around the environment, around peace and anti-war – they too draw our attention to issues that previously haven’t been considered political o And to say to us that these issues matter – women’s rights matter, rights of indigenous people matter, rights of persons of color matter and these are political issues, longstanding prejudice against these groups needs to be addressed  So drawing our attention and redefining the political sometimes with shock techniques – it’s about getting people out in the street showing their concern for these issues and that there is wide support for these issues o i.e. environmental activists that climb and hang off smoke stacks, or wrap themselves around a tree  last week, talked about the way which from many environmental activism – 1960s forward, environmental activism really started to take off o some people suggest that it was from the images from space – the earth sitting, floating in the darkness of space – began to motivate people to think about the way the earth is a limited resource and contains many limited resources o we can’t just pollute it indefinitely and we cannot extract resources from it indefinitely – it is a contained space  tragedy of the commons (last week) o one of the terms around which both activists and analysts of the environment say it’s really difficult to address environmental issues o went through one of those perspectives last week o she also mentioned that economically, the liberal positions on the environment = you have two positions really  1) pure economic liberal view on the environment  Which would really be: if you want the advantages of industrialization, there will be costs and they are costs that really impact on the environment  It would tell us not to get in the way of industries that pollute, rather let them reach a point of profitability then they’ll start investing their profits into things like research and development on anti-pollution technologies  Allow them to begin to reduce their environmental footprint primarily by allowing them to become as profitable as possible and trust that they will begin to invest in creating environmental technologies  2) liberal pluralism (liberal view we spoke more about in first term)  Doesn’t trust that economic actors seeking profitability can by themselves be guaranteed to reinvest their profits into the environment  You need to find a way to balance allowing industries to grow but while imposing some constraints  So, in fact you do need things like environmental treaties  Went through 2 examples last week of how the way in which liberal pluralists – Montreal battle struck that battle as well, but the Kiyoto protocol does not o Just started talking about critical approach to environmental issues  Much of the activism that arises around the environment focuses on kinds of analyses that come out of the critical theory on the environment  Would look at not trusting industries to always reinvest their profits into environmental safeguards as Liberal pluralists point out  Also looks at profitability and the drive for rapid and large profits on the part of industries and industry since the industrial revolution that has resulted in the environmental impacts that we see today  They hate the problem with the environment in the ways in which any industrial sector that impacts the environment is motivated to pursue profits quickly, to the highest possible levels and this is what contributes to environmental problems  These things happen precisely because industry seeks high profit and seeks to cut costs o All activists will point to the ways in which the negative impacts on the environment can affect us on a day-to-day  The way they draw attention to the big accidents that happen  (from last week)  These big accidents happened because of cost cutting  Exon trying to cut costs – cutting personnel on freighters  Petroleum ship accident happened – none of the things that were designed to warn them of potential dangers were working  They also made the freights much bigger – increased size by a couple of hundred feet to cut costs to be able to move more petroleum – but this also meant that they didn’t maneuver very well  Cut staff – boring to work on these ships, alcoholism is common among workers – captain’s driving license was suspended for DUI charge but he was captaining this ship  Exon worked hard to prevent petroleum ships from having to use double hulled ships  Studies have come out of deep water horizon show that Halliburton VP and Trent continental were all about cutting costs – cut costs about how they’d drill the well, the concrete they used to line the well, had to train staff to understand what warning signals were when they started getting them before the blowout – didn’t understand the measures they had to use (combining mud and concrete properly to plug it)  That’s the U.S. analysis on deep water horizon o Critical theorists point to all these things and say the drive for profit pushes industry to secure as much profit as possible, as quickly as possible so they’ll always be involved in cost cutting measure  So these kinds of accidents, these impacts on the environment are almost inevitable  And so activists taking p this kind of analysis draw attention to these things – issues aren’t just passive impact that industries have on the environment, just the unfortunate costs associated with living with the comforts in an advanced industrialized society, but rather this is a result of decisions made by a multinationals executives within multinational corporations  Imp
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