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SOSC 1000 - Final Exam Study Guide (Comprehensive)

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1000
Terry Conlin

SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 Final Exam Study Compilation All the information below is informed by readings and lectures of 2012/2013. The study questions are completed to the best of my understanding at the current time; however, there may still be some mistakes/gaps. If you find any errors, please contact me so I can make the respective changes immediately. Thanks for your support, and best of luck in the exam! Part A – Define and State Significance of Five of the Following Concepts 1. The Fur Trade In pre-confederation times, the British and the indigenous peoples of North America engaged in a trade system to benefit both parties. As discussed in lecture, the natives would trade various types of furs, predominantly beaver; and the British traded European manufactured goods and tools such as guns. This trade was made possible mainly through, as Innis highlights, a dependence on indigenous technologies like the “canoe”. Throughout the latter half of the trade, marked around the 17 century, the British and Aboriginals “half-breed” descendants were very important. These people secured the native technological advantage, as well as the European industrial view. As romantic as this trade system appears at first glance, the relationship was exploitive to both the Indians and the environment because, as Innis highlights in the readings, it was treating the environment as a staple. Consequentially, the indigenous culture experienced a major shift, being forced to adopt modernity and commercialize their skills around the new fur industry. Additionally, they were subject to the influence of European culture, drastically changing their original heritage. Innis underlines that the Indians had an insatiable appetite for the European goods. Similarly, the new staple economy the fur trade created was exploitive to the environment. By hunting the animals, predominantly the beaver, at ever increasing rates, the beaver during the 17 century nearly completely disappeared in Canada. On the other hand, as Innis highlights, good things such as accessibility, transportation and communal knowledge were shared with the creation of the staple economy in Canada. These new features in Canada helped to expand the country to find new staples. Ultimately then, through the fur trade, the Indians and their culture were fundamental to the growth of Canadian institutions, but carried some exploitive consequences, both to the indigenous peoples and the environment. Key Concepts – Exploration  Colonization  Exploitation, Staple Economy, Expansionist Paradigm 1 SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 2. Luddism In tutorial, we discussed the notion that “control technologies”, a concept introduced by Ursula Franklin, are not neutral. Unlike others, control technologies are used by elite classes to influence the majority, identifying an underlying class conflict. Examples include substituting software for employees and shortening and simplifying production and distribution process. Luddism then, is the belief that technological change is not beneficial for society, because technology is not neutral and creates a system of upper class domination over the working class. As Noble highlights, this worldview was adopted by the working class from 1811 to 1817 in response to a sewing “power loom” technology with no economic purpose, only control related. Fundamentally then, this world view is contradictory to the visions of a techno paradise many had during this era, as Rifkin underlines, because it permits the creation and separation of social classes. Luddism is further significant because it highlights the conflicting ideologies of classes in society. Because the technologies have been successfully invoked and have not received any further large scale revolts, we can see that the dominant class won the ideological war. Nowadays, Rifkin underscores that the name Luddite, referring to a follower of luddism ideology, is used as a derogatory insult against someone who may oppose development. This goes to show how enveloped the paradigm of technological development is in our society, disallowing us from thinking otherwise. Key Concepts – Class Control and Marxism, Counter Ideologies, Control and Prescriptive Technologies 3. Race as a Social Construct Augie Fleras when identifying race in our culture, highlights that, just like animals, we as humans all belong to the same species, no matter what variations there are in our physical appearances. Likewise, in lecture, the documentary “Skin Deep: The Science of Race”, underlined that there are no inherent genetic differences from people across the globe. Thus, at the most scientific basis, race does not exist. If there is no scientific basis then the notion of race must be created by society, and, as stated in the documentary be used by dominant groups in society to divide ethnic groups into rankings of inferior and dominant. “The Bell Curve” as Gould highlights, is an excellent example of this exact ranking method. In summary, it states that some races are inherently more intelligent, yet ignores other important social factors. The implications of this academic racism would mean the systemic slashing of social programs for those minorities that are ranked as inferior. This would further create, as discussed in lecture, a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the marginalized group acts as they are perceived to be. Thus, academic work similar to the bell curve, created by dominant societal groups, 2 SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 is used to dehumanize the “others” in society with no actual scientific basis. The notion of race then is inherently oppressive to the marginalized groups of society. Yes there are physical differences between many people of different ethnic origins, but to as the documentary states, use these characters to define a “race” and rank these races is absurd. Key Concepts – Social Construct, Racism, Science following an Ideology, ”Othering”, 4. Violent Masculinity The documentary “Tough Guise” by Jackson Katz, seen in lecture and discussed in tutorial, introduces the idea that strength, power and violence are male characteristics that are influenced by the media. These images, seen through the roles of cowboys, gangsters and athletes, force males, especially marginalized ethnic populations who have a difficult time fitting into society, to adopt a “mask of invulnerability”. This mask removes any emotional attributes associated with femininity, also socially constructed, that would make the male seem any less powerful. Michael Moore identifies the implications of such a mask in his comical journal, “The End of Men”, including violent acts such as road rage, in which the male must reveal his aggression to resolve problems. Additionally, the media, through movies such as slasher, sexualize the violence, degrading the female as a person. Also, Katz parallels the action figures of past and present to the masculinity of males. Simply, in recent years, action figures have become increasingly muscular, underlining their physical power. In contrast, women have become increasingly to the representations of a perfect female. Ultimately, this dominant perception that males must be tough reflects an underlying patriarchal ideal, in which violence is intrinsically related to power. Thus, males, however specifically presented in the media, must adopt a “tough” mask to be accepted into society, for fear of being gendered a female, for not showing violent characteristics. Key Concepts – Social Construct, Gendered Roles, Patriarchal Ideology 5. Caregiver Role In lecture, Professor Conlin and Andrea O’Reilly both identified that the caregiver role is a fundamental aspect of a female’s life in the modern domestic world. The woman in this society is ideally supposed to provide all basic needs of the family including, sustenance, psychological and elder care. Additionally, the woman must care for her children, which, as Hays highlights, has become increasingly prominent in society today. Ultimately, these occupations listed are considered worthy for a woman to undertake, yet, as society perceives, pale in comparison to the males work and their input to the economy. Thus, reflecting the patriarchal ideology of society in which women 3 SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 are only a male’s subordinate figure. Hays further argues that these create cultural contradictions, “dual demands” for a woman who wants to also have a career because she must perform traditional woman roles, and her traditional male role. Additionally, the oppression of women in the society, because they cannot excel in careers, underlines this conflict of powers within society. Key Concepts – Social Construct, Gendered Jobs, Unpaid Work, Gender Gap (Equality), Patriarchy 6. Intensive Mothering Unlike the caregiver role, intensive mothering involves the persistent participation of the mother in all activities associated around the kid’s childhood. This role was introduced after the Second World War, in an effort to remove females from the workplace to make room for the returning males. Contrasting to before, post-war propaganda was aimed at convincing women that it was their obligation to return home and take care of their kids. Interestingly enough, they also received much “scientific” evidence proving the childcare centers as demoralizing for their young children and were creating them into young deviants. Also, family wages of males in the workforce permitted more families to have a mom at home. In the late 80s, the transition to intensive mothering was complete, as O’Reilly underlines with now excessive time and money being spent on the children. Simply, intensive mothering has removed traditional childhood because of this now “militarized” institution of child rearing. As a general overview, intensive mothering represents the cultural construction of, as Rich identifies, the institution of motherhood. This set of guidelines for mothering reflected in intensive mothering underlines the oppressive gendered work of the woman and patriarchal ideals. By changing the role of a female in society, males could claim dominance once again over the work force. Additionally, this role of mothers is a middle class North American luxury, as those in the working class cannot afford to spend time with their kids. This notion highlights that ideologies reflect the culture in which they are birthed, which is what we discussed in tutorial. Therefore, when analyzing the social process, we can uncover the underlying ideology that created, in this case, the institutional process of intensive mothering. Key Concepts – Mothering vs. Motherhood, Childhood, Women in the Workplace, Patriarchy, Oppression of the perceived subordinate gender in society 7. The Death of Birth The death of birth Hawken defines in his review of “Ecology and Commerce”, as simply the effect of Humanity causing the extinction of life on 4 SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 earth because of exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment. Hawken analogizes this using a picture of weeds growing through the road. Simply, these weeds represent the staples of the economy, non-diverse and with short life cycles, that are inherently exploitive to the environment; the road represents the economy. Thus, resonating with Innis’ staple argument, he argues the economy disallows for anything but weeds, which is invariably interlinked with the environments exploitation. This conflicts with the indigenous world view as Hughes highlights, where the land is their life and livelihood. In lecture, the documentary “The Winds that Keep Blowing” uses the James Bay project to illustrate the death of birth. By creating basins of water, and changing natural currents, animals such as the beluga whale face an imminent threat of extinction. Therefore Hawken’s definition of the death of birth reflects an exploitive economy. The notion that humanity, especially the western world, is exceeding its carrying capacity reveals the minute amount of say the environment has in the dominant neo-liberal society. The trajectory of society will not change unless the structural problems are resolved. Thus, the structures of society are seen through the death of birth to increase the effect on the environment of humanity. Key Concepts – Carrying Capacity, Staple Economy, Exploitation, Capitalism, Environmentalism 8. Sustainable Development As defined in lecture when reviewing the “Our Common Future” report, sustainable development is simply meeting the economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to provide their needs. In Hawken’s analysis of Ecology of Commerce, he defines a sustainable development in relation to a market economy as one based off efficiency, unlike the analogy he derives of weeds. In his analogy he illustrates the image of weeds growing through a paved road. The road represents the economy, and the weeds represent the exploitive staple consumption. He argues that to embrace sustainable development, we must develop a sustainable economy that permits this; diverse and fundamentally not exploitive to the environment. As discussed in tutorial, sustainable development invariably requires a sacrifice of consumption, as we are currently using more than our environment can sustain. The indigenous peoples of North America, as Hughes highlights, are an example of sustainable development. Valuing important aspects of collective ownership, treatment of the environment as an interconnected life force, the indigenous people have a relatively small impact on the environment in comparison to 5 SOSC 1000 – Exam Study Guide April 2013 colonial methods. Sustainable development is an important concept to social science, as it highlights the inherent contradictions within our current economic structure. Additionally, it highlights that the environment within the economy is oppressed, similar to females in the economy, simply because it is not counted within the country’s value. Key Concepts – Economy & Ecology, Capitalism, Wealth vs. Capital, Dominant Ideology, Environment as a Unit of Economic Structure 9. The Bell Curve The Bell Curve is a book written in 1994 that is one of the most controversial examples of academic racism. The authors, as Gould reviews in his critique, divide races based on IQ level. This method of analysis most importantly fails to identify social variations between populations. These variations include education, poverty, and language barriers. Thus, this blatantly racist research disguised as science presents a narrow view, organizing populations into inferior and dominant. The documentary presented in lecture, “Skin Deep: The Science of Race”, identifies that, similar to “The Bell Curve”, the primary function of racial analysis is to divide groups and organize in a ranking system. As mentioned in lecture, the implications of this research for policy in society are also all but equal. If this research was accepted by society, social programs for poverty reduction would simply be removed, as in the economy’s eyes; there is no purpose in educating and helping the groups in society who inherently won’t contribute to the status quo. Fundamentally then, this research is oppressive, highlighting an elitist ideological background. Key Concepts – Academic Racism, Race as a Social Construct, Systemic Oppression of Marginalized Groups 10. The 1969 White Paper Proposed by Trudeau government, the 1969 White Paper was created in an effort to create individual equality by uniting the indigenous peoples of Canada with Canadian society. As mentioned in lecture, abolishing the Indian Act, and with it the Indian status of many aboriginals, the White Paper was opposed by all status Indians. Simply put, the Indian Act did a better
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