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Part A of Midterm exam.docx

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Social Science
SOSC 1000
Terry Conlin

Part A Six of the following will appear on the exam. You will be asked to define and explain the significance for the course of five of them. (10% each) Thomas Hobbes: 17th century English philosopher who is known as one of the originators of social science as he was one of the first to establish that human behaviour was an appropriate subject of study. While discussing Thomas Hobbes in his work called “Social Science: Between Natural Science and the Humanities”, Shusky states that Hobbes’ social contract theory implied that human behaviour is far more rational than it appears. Hobbes’ social contract theory states that peace is only achieved when as humans we give up some our rights and freedom to a higher authority in order to have some social stability. He also addresses the opposite scenario to this by saying that in a state of nature (without authoritative government), humans are competitive and are in a continuous state of war between each other. Hobbes’ work is significant because it gave birth to the study of human behaviour and it implied that humans delegated power to the monarch instead of God and this rejected the Divine Right of Kings and paved the way for human delegated governments. Hobbes would go on influence writers such as John Locke and his work would form the basis of Locke’s natural rights. Immiseration: Asdiscussed in Lecture, Immiseration isan observed feature of the marginalized people in society, the concept originating from Karl Marx and his theoryof classstruggle. Simplymeaning to make miserable, or impoverish, the action has always existed and isusuallya resultof coercion from the higher classes. In the course readingsand lectures, we have seen the immiseration of the natives, those affected in the industrial revolution, and recentlyinthe Westraycoalmine.Initially,we reviewed Howard Zinn'sperspective onthe 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. Ultimately, the immiseration ofthose whether direct or indirect is very apparent in this course and produces an overall theme.As was discussed 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 historymay seem to have a positive progression, but it comes at a cost, generallyfor 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 countrylegallylower wagesthan from inside, you are immiseration people. Profits are made bythe moneysaved, but it comes at the cost of the worker,subjectto lesspay, benefitsetc. Holmberg’s Mistake: Define as the realization that most of our assumptions about Native American societies are incorrect because of the observation of their culture at the time of duress. Holmberg stated that the Siriono were an unimpressive people who had existed for thousands of years without innovation or progress. He claimed the Siriono had no real history prior to European contact. This has been declared as biased and false. The Native Americans population had just been wiped out by small pox. Thus, there were assumptions made against the Native Americans that have been declared false in recent times. In “A View From Above”, Charles Mann states that Holmberg perceived Indians as people that had never changed their environment and thus had made the assumption that they were primitive and had no real history because history is change. In the lecture on Ideology and History, This is significant because it shows how the people in power which in this care were the Europeans can form and define a society’s knowledge and alter history. This allows for the creation of the concept of mythhistory. Westray: Westray was a coal mine in Pictou County. 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 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. 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, the CEO of Westray 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. 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. The term dominant ideology is significant because we are affected by it on a daily basis. There are ideologies in our homes, in our institutions of education and in society itself. It is also significant because it shows how a higher class is able to legitimize its actions by using the notion of a dominant ideology as can be seen in the Divine Right of Kings. 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. The concept of aggregate demand is significant because according to classical economics, government should play a limited role in the economy but Keynesian economics defied this and advocated for a greater role of government in the economy in the form of public spending. It provides for a macroscopic aspect of the economy which traditional demand is unable to do and with the help of other Keynesian policies, this has led to the creation of a mixed economy. The significance of aggregate demand was especially within the 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. 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. 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. Ultimately, the important themes produced include history’s contestability, the marginalization of minorities in history. Mythistory is significant because it tells us that things in the past can be fabricated while actual events can also be not documented and forgotten abou
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