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SOSC 1000 Mid-Term Study Guide (Comprehensive)

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Social Science
SOSC 1000
Terry Conlin

SOSC 1000 November 2012 Mid-Term Exam Study Guide Part A: 50% - 50 minutes 1. Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) contributed to the foundations of social science by identifying what he called a social contract, in which all citizens of a state were subject to. Spurred by the horrific past, in which the government inappropriately abused their power over the people, Hobbes intended to create a blueprint for the future, with the belief that human inequality was present. As was discussed in lecture as well as Shusky’s text, Hobbes believed that humans originally acted in what he termed a “state of nature”, in which humans fueled by the drive to accumulate, were in constant competition with one another. He believed that as a response, primitive societies subjected themselves to a social contract out of fear of each other, enabling us to accumulate freely. Thus, government began as a response to the people’s interests. Hobbes believed we have personal sovereignty, the ability to sell our own labor, and not a pawn of the ruling class or government. These theories contradicted the dominant ideology of the day, and opposed the views of those in power. However, in 1688, the English revolution created a constitutional monarchy, placing individual’s values as a primary role of government, and limiting government power. This new ideology was termed liberalism, and became the successor of its previous dominant ideology. Hobbes became one of the first modern thinkers, moving away from the idea of natural order that was the backbone of political arrangements and laid the groundwork for modern liberalism. In later years, John Locke, created his writings in response to Hobbes. Additionally, the economic system of capitalism can be argued to be largely a response to the innate desire to accumulate wealth. 2. Immiseration As discussed in Lecture and tutorial discussions, Immiseration is an observed feature of the marginalized people in society, the concept originating from Karl Marx and his theory of class struggle. Simply meaning to make miserable, or impoverish, the action has always existed and is usually a result of coercion from the higher classes. In the course readings and lectures, we have seen the immiseration of the natives, those affected in the industrial revolution, and recently in the Westray coal mine. Initially, we reviewed Howard Zinn’s perspective on the colonization of North America and the effects to the indigenous people there. Indians were harvested as slaves, taken from their community, and forced to harvest gold for Britain. Next, Thompson exemplifies the industrial revolution as an atrocity especially for children. The working conditions and low wage for long hours dehumanizes the workers. The children were not only physically beaten in as is described as hellish mines, they were deprived of parental involvement and most importantly, play time. Additionally, Westray, because the employees were dealing with negligent management that failed to follow safety procedure as Peter Richards identifies in his list of “what ifs”. Ultimately, the immiseration of those whether direct or indirect is very apparent in this course and produces an overall theme. As was discussed in 1 SOSC 1000 November 2012 lecture, Karl Marx believed there was a constant class struggle in life. There will always be immiseration where there is growth. As stated above, certain instances of history may seem to have a positive progression, but it comes at a cost, generally for the lower classes. To better explain this significance, we can draw upon the concept of outsourcing labor. By paying people outside the union, province, or country legally lower wages than from inside, you are immiseration people. Profits are made by the money saved, but it comes at the cost of the worker, subject to less pay, benefits etc. 3. Dominant Ideology As was defined in lecture, a dominant ideology is defined as a particular set of ideas perceptions, values, and beliefs which is most widely shared and has the greatest impact on social action at any particular time in any particular society. Dominant ideologies are not stable throughout history, and are constantly changing to suit the “people’s” best interests. However, in order to change, there must be what is called a “counter ideology”. The two coexist in society, with counter ideologies becoming replacements for dominant ideology. Counter ideologies allow for the public to view events through a different lens and judge which is better. Dominant ideologies are fundamental to society because they allow explanation and judgments on historic events, the simplification of complex realities, and they provide consistency and coherency to a confusing world. However, as read in Marchak’s text, the greater the acceptance of an ideology, the less judgment passes of its truth. Dominant ideologies create foundations for theories to be created, to explain social events and processes. To give an example of the relevance of dominant ideologies to social science can be the dominant ideology of North America as discussed in tutorial. Most young adults aspire to attain certain stereotypical occupations such as doctors, or lawyers, and understand the need to get an education. The question is who says you need money, a good job etc. to have a nice life and live “the American dream”. Obviously, this example identifies the lack of judgment that goes into understanding the truth of an ideology. 4. Aggregate Demand Aggregate demand is a term first found in the work of John Maynard Keynes discussed in lecture, as well as Heilbroner’s text, defined as the total demand for final goods and services in the economy at a given price in a certain time frame. This was displayed through the aggregate demand curve in which demand drove supply outlined in lecture. The purpose of Keynesian ideology is that the government must increase government expenditures to create more jobs, lowering employment and inflation, theoretically to zero. Therefore, if there is an insufficient demand on the market for jobs, the government must raise expenditures to curb this, typically through the development of infrastructure. Without Keynesianism, when the demand lowers, the unemployment rates go up. This also works vice versa, if the demand rises, so does the employment rate. The significance of aggregate demand was especially within the 2 SOSC 1000 November 2012 timeframe of the 1930’s to 1970’s, the golden era of Keynesianism. Among the people who appreciated it were the general people, who sold their labour power. By allowing more employment to be generated, the increase of the middle class began. Because the unemployment rate was so low, more could live in better conditions than before. 5. Holmberg’s Mistake Charles Mann from the course readings identifies Holmberg’s mistake as a misunderstanding of indigenous people as a result of war and disease causing the indigenous community to be not only genetically, but culturally bottlenecked. Holmberg analyzed a community that seemed to lack culture, and simply lived without history. However, the people did have a history that was passed down by their verbal language; however, because of the large amount lost, they themselves not know of it. Holmberg’s response to his observations produced a widely used archetype of indigenous people. This archetype was the noble savage, or the passive Indian, a dreamy stereotype of the indigenous people that never changed their environment. Thus, the public believed that all indigenous people could fit into this archetype because of a poor analysis of a culture. Obviously, major significance of Holmberg’s mistake is that to accurately grasp a people’s history, one must analyze all variables and not take the appearance for face values. Furthermore, the influence on culture work in the social science can have. Especially during the British colonization, entrepreneurs believed the Indians needed their ingenuity and development of their land to help them as a race. However, this is incredibly wrong as they did have a history and did not want their land developed for the exploitation of a British colony. 6. Westray Westray was a coal mine in Nova Scotia. In 1992, 26 miners died in a massive explosion, arguably an outcome of the poor management and safety regulations inside the mine. When the mine opened, it promised 15 year security and good pay. However, within the first month major problems were already occurring, with three rock falls. The management was treating the workers very poorly, giving workers little instructional procedure on how to use equipment and being negligent in their responsibilities to uphold the safety regulations set out by the government. These were overlooked by safety inspectors that failed to report each time the violations were found, amounting to 52 within the duration of the mine. This unfortunate event creates great significance to both public policy and the ability of corporate leaders to hide behind corporate form. Frame, the CEO was never prosecuted as they lacked sufficient evidence to tie him into the evident mishap. Westray is of historical significance to social science because it underlines main concepts in regard to work and class. Firstly, it stresses the significance of legislation to ensure these events, when they happen allow the prosecution of management for criminal negligence. People like Frame should not be allowed to hide behind the corporate form, even when they are the key decision makers for their investments. Additionally, it reveals the class struggle between the poor who out of necessity kept with a job that in the end proved to be disastrous. Had the economic system provided more jobs, the 3 SOSC 1000 November 2012 workers may have not suffered from such oppressive forces, and created a union to voice their concerns. This highlights the non-functionality of the economic whip as it demonstrates it forces workers to engage in work that may not be of good interests. 7. Mythistory William McNeil, in response to historians of his day analyzing history as a scientific study, coined the term Mythistory. As taught through lecture and the course readings, McNeil believed that scientific method could not be applied to history because it failed to capture a broader view of human history. Thus, Mythistory identifies that history is contestable because one’s history is another’s myth and vice versa. However, McNeil identifies the importance of myths in history, as they provide an underlying basis for nation’s ideologies, using Hitler and the Nazi party to demonstrate this. McNeil’s term is further highlighted in the course kit through the writings of Zinn in regard to Columbus, and Thompson in regard to children, both in cases of marginalization of a group. Firstly, Columbus was seen as a hero in most textbooks produced, however when seen through the lenses of indigenous groups, we realize this was not the case. Additionally, the industrial revolution which has been largely seen as an important positive progression often fails to analyses adverse social effects. Either example effectively demonstrates that history is not as solid and static as one may imagine, but a fluid dynamic construct, and cannot be understood by the scientific method alone. Ultimately, the important themes produced include history’s contestability, the marginalization of minorities in history. In tutorial we discussed how history can be contested because it is often created by the ruling class, and fails to identify the views from other minorities in society. 8. Dissenters - NOT DOING IT 9. Creative Destruction In lecture and Heilbroner’s text, we were informed of what is termed as creative destruction, a hallmark to capitalism, an originally developed term from Joseph Schumpeter. Simply, it is the displacement of one product by another. It relies on the principle that capitalism is never stationary, but constantly evolving. Thus, old businesses, technologies etc. are destroyed by new ones, allowing the people to continue to want to buy more and more. It is seen as a necessary progression in order to create technological advancements, and progress from an older mass producing company of a single product. Additionally, it creative destruction underlines the intense competition between companies to create the best cost effective, yet quality product. Based upon my personal research, I can see how creative destruction has worked in history. For example, the Polaroid camera, a revolutionary invention, has become obsolete today. It has allowed to influx of new digital cameras, revolutionary today, which now completely dominate the market for photography. Additionally, creative destruction can relate to our lectures on work and class, in which we learned that people are being defined more and more by what they do outside of work than their actual work. People can become part of the 4 SOSC 1000 November 2012 higher class simply by supporting this creative destruction and buying the newest technology or trends of the day. 10. Classical Liberalism In the beginning lectures, as well as Marchak’s readings on Ideology and Social Organization, we were taught that Classical liberalism is a left winged ideology that focuses on the individual as the unit of analysis. Likewise, there is a strong attraction to personal liberties and individuality. One’s interests in classical liberalism are more important than the interests of the state, outlining a small role for the government within this ideology. The government’s role ultimately is the protection of the individual’s liberties, providing items such as an army, court system, and public education. Additionally, the government may not be the controller of the economy, allowing for a free market across the nation. This ideology was initially founded off words of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, outlined in Shusky’s readings, with his belief that individuals should be able to own property, and government power only being justified by public good. Classic liberalism is especially important because it is an ideological background for the reformed liberalism, and directly linked to American and Canadian constitutions. The ideology can more so be seen in the American constitution because of what we discussed in lecture as a division of power between the senate and congress. This disallows power to group together and potentially remove the public’s interest from government. Classical liberalism dominates the western world today, and is seen as the positive future of developing countries. 11. Moral Economy In the course readings, Thompson outlines the fundamental background of the moral th th economy and origins with in the 18 and 19 century. Thompson initially starts off by critiquing the spasmodic ideology that most historians had of the public of that era. Thompson argues that people did not act impulsively with aggression in the form of riots, but that there reactions were a result of their rights being infringed on. Thompson then begins to address the moral economy, stating that it incorporated more traditional values, in that it believed the proper economy is based on goodness, fairness, and justice. Such an economy is argued to be generally only stable in local, closely knit communities, where the principles of mutuality — i.e. "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" — operate to avoid the free rider problem. Where economic transactions arise between strangers who cannot be informally sanctioned by a social network, the free rider problem lacks a solution and a moral economy becomes harder to maintain. Thompson underlines that the introduction of the middleman and the removal of specifically farmer to consumer transactions removed moral features allowing more profits to be made of necessities such as corn and bread. Additionally, the regulation of prices by authority was present in order to ensure the poor could sustain themselves with food. As Thompson ends with, the moral economy is less present in society today, except in experiences I have had with local farmers markets and buying wholesale. Corporations have redefined the 5 SOSC 1000 November 2012 market, creating middle men in almost all goods and services allowing prices to inflate and large profits to be made. In tutorials we discussed the reality of how prices are no longer linked to a person, an
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