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Lecture 7

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Social Science
SOSC 1140
John Simoulidis

SOSC 1140 Self, Culture and Society Lecture 7 November 6, 2013  “ The institutions of your country are not your piece-work, and the only thing you have got to do, is, to mind your piece-work: (Mr. Bounderby, Hard Times) “Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want” (Smith) ▯ act of change/ offer “ The specific economic form, in which unpaid surplus-labour is pumped out of direct producers, determines the relationship of rulers an ruled … it is always the direct relationship of the owners of the conditions of production to the direct producers … which reveals the innermost secret, the hidden basis of the entire social structure” (Marx, Capital Vol. III) ▯ Who is the laboring class under feudalism? ▯ Who is non laboring class under feudalism? ▯ What do these classes have on the means of labour? ▯ Marx is saying how if you want to figure out how a society functions, you must first understand the soceities class system. There is an economic system to the class system. ▯ Economy is key to Marx. ▯ Political + Ideological = Economy. Last Week: • We can understand the present better if we can understand the past: see how non- capitalist/past societies have solved the ‘economic problem’ • Heilbroner: traditional and command ▯ how to produce and allocate production • Polanyi: reciprocity, redistribution and house holding ▯ these three principles in some combination have governed economic systems for most of human history. The market, capitalism is a fairly relevant experiment. th ▯ The closest society ever came to approximating the ideal self-regulating market was in the 19 century, but even then, it didn’t last long. It didn’t last long because society itself, would have been destroyed. • Capitalism represents a “break” (Giddens: discontinuous) not an evolution from the past ▯ Adam smith makes a revolutionary view that Giddens is against. ▯ Capital represents a break from the past and not an evolutionary from the past. • “Capital is wealth whose value does not inhere in its physical characteristics, but in its use to create a larger amount of capital” (p.30). ▯ Capital is not just about money and commodities. Contradictions of Capitalism: • Lies in “the tendency of the growth process to generate both wealth and misery simultaneously” (p.40). ▯ Enclosures (Marx on ‘primitive accumulation’) ▯ “Immiseration”, the dehumanizing effect of work (Smith and Marx) - Both Smith and Marx recognizes. Smith recognizes the dehumanizing effect on individuals.Alienation is the big thing for Marx, which is generated by capitalism. ▯ The lived environment: “Satanic Mills”, pollution and urban slums ▯ Accumulation ▯ success and failure: crises • A“Society of perfect liberty” or Alienation? Lecture Outline: • Dickens: image of industrial life in the 19 century • Smith’s Theory of Capitalism and his Critique of Mercantilism ▯ His conception of the division of labour (D of L) ▯ Social Consequences D of L • Marx’s theory of capitalism: a historically unique ‘mode of production’ ▯ Transition between feudalism and capitalism ▯ The commodification of labour power: Wage – labour and Exploitation • ‘Materialist Conception of History’: Economic ‘Base’ and ‘Superstructure’. Charles Dickens (1812-1870) • Prolific English novelist of the Victorian Era • Advocated social reform against the horrors of industrialization and the indifference of politicians and he wealthy. Reading for the Literal: • Four levels of interpretation: literal, formal and expository andANALYTICAL • What are we reading about? • Life in a fictional English manufacturing town, Coketown, “a town of red brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it” • Cecilia Jupe: abandoned by her father (who worked in a circus) taken in by Mr. Gradgrind • Stephen Blackpool: a power-loom weaver in mill (or ‘factory’) owned by Mr. Bounderby. Reading for the Formal: • Look at the name of this fictional town: Coketown. Does anyone know what ‘coke’ is? • “It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye” • Name of the town, and metaphors like ‘serpents of smoke’, tell us that the triumph of capitalism also has this tragic side: produces squalid, overcrowded, polluted cities (externalities). Expository Level: Dickens’ Sociological Imagination: • ‘Sissy’s Progress’:At a literal level, it just sounds like she’s having trouble at school • But Dickens is presenting a critique of a particular way of looking at things l
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