The Role of Theory
One's theoretical framework fundamentally influences the process of critique
What is Theory?
- Attempts to make sense of the social and political world and it provides a
foundation for action.
- Liberalism, socialism and conservatism have dominated the social and political
landscape for the last two centuries.
Conservatism & Contemporary and Neo-Conservatism
Conservatives, unlike the other frameworks, do not understand people to be
equal. Modern conservatives would understand that people are equal in a moral
regard, but still unequal in social terms. They are generally hostile to modern
democracy, because it gives too much power to the unwashed and uneducated
masses. They would suggest that the social fabric that is carried on for
generations is very delicate, and everyone should be born, live and die according
the social creed. very few true conservatives in north america.
Inequality in gender is also important. Stereotypical values assigned to gender.
They view very traditional divisions of labour as a result of gender and necessary
for preserving the social fabric, and that women's issues are seen as dangerous
to this social fabric and the delicate nature of society.
Relationship between traditional and contemporary neo-conservatism
- Still believe some people are better than others.
- Civilized people are law abiding, criminals are uncivilized.
- The rights of minority groups ultimately threaten the social fabric
- Not ostensibly racist
- "tough on crime", "zero tolerance" policies
- Interested in minimun sentencing
Liberalism & Contemporary Neo-Liberalism
The starting of liberalism is the individual. Individual rights and freedoms are the
hallmark of this school of thoughts.
The state grants individual rights and freedoms. Power and politics are
conducted through elected representatives and liberals understand differences
(race, gender, religion, sexuality) as irrelevant to citizenship. They believe that
everyone is equal, and have faith in the official version of the law. In fact, the
official version of the law comes from the liberal school of thought.
State has two primary functions. To secure individual rights and freedoms and to
protect its members from dangers outside the state.
There are two competing conceptions within liberal thought - negative a