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ANTH 3027 (1)

ANTH 3027 Reading Journals.pdf

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ANTH 3027
Aliaa Dakroury

ANTH 3027 - August 5th, 2010 - Jennie Keedwell, 100767545 ▯ This weekʼs reading by Michael Freeman, The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, invoked much thought on my part. Freeman raised many questions and did not always offer answers, such as the main issue of what philosophical foundations exist in the case of human rights. Philosophy is something that I have always found interesting yet extremely taxing, as explanations are not always clear, and this article made me feel confused at parts. Something I found extremely interesting was the discussion about the obstacles to human rights activism, which Freeman says are state sovereignty and cultural relativism. These are topics which are seen to be positive in so many realms (such as anthropology) but within human rights I am now aware of the challenges that these ideologies raise. f o e n o r e t p a h ▯ C The Right to Communicate was really interesting. Jean dʼArcy was not someone that I was familiar with before this reading, but now I am interested in what else he had to say about human rights. Overall, I find the idea of communication as a right to be eye-opening having not studied human rights before. Reading the article, I felt as though the idea of freedom of media from monopolies sounded like an obvious human right but this idea also invoked other thoughts and questions such as if everyone can have access to media, how can there be any regulations on discriminatory content? ▯ While reading chapter four of The Right to Communicate I was reminded of previous anthropology classes that I have taken which have often brought into question the relationship between technologies and development. The whole topic is very intriguing, and there is a parallel to the previous article as it again discusses motives and the challenges of monopolies. d n a r e t n i W y b ( k o o b t x e t e h t f o ANTH 3027 - August 5th, 2010 - Jennie Keedwell, 100767545 ▯ What I liked most about this weekʼs first reading, chapter 7 of the textbook by Leslie Regan Shade, was the new terminology that I was introduced to. The article itself focuses on the issues that are increasingly challenging the right to communicate in Canada, and argues that Canadian telecommunications policy has been driven by strategies of the industry based on competitiveness rather than by national or public interest related to social well-being. What I found most interesting however was not so much these policy issues, but the new terminology. For example “redlining,” which I now know means purposely bypassing or skipping over peoples or communities that do not seem advantageous to the company, may it be a bank, a retail or telecom service. I can see how this has been done in the more rural areas of the city, where faster internet is not available as a result of the companies offering this service to “richer” neighborhoods in the downtown core. Another thing that I found interesting about this article was the statement that “fifteen years ago...many Canadian public interest activists and community members argued that universal access to the Internet should be seen as an essential human right” (page 188). I find this interesting because I did not realize that the Internet was seen as such an important feature of society that long ago. I can imagine the same thing being said now, but fifteen years ago seems like a long time. ▯ Chapter 13 of the textbook, by Vanda Rideout, focuses on the progressive political activism that has resulted in the Right to Communicate, as well as the public interest in communications, and the right to access information. Rideout examines the recent efforts to establish the Right to Communicate within the arena of the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society). This chapter contains six really interesting “post cards” which themselves focus on the struggles to establish communication rights. Post card one, titled “The Neo-Liberal Impact on Communications,” is especially interesting because it explains how the liberalization of telecommunications system actually produced many problems such as debt, strikes, and job losses (page 327). I would have expected the opposite to happen in this circumstance. I also found post card five revealing, as it discusses the increased On-Line initiatives being used by the government of Canada. This is a service that I have become accustomed too - applying for passports, paying parking tickets, and accessing employment information - but until reading this I was unaware of the cost: $880 million just for the design and development. I also find it important to note the de-skilling of service workers. Overall this was a very appealing article. ▯ Beattyʼs article, “The Canadian Conception of Equality,” was quite difficult to read, but he did use some very clear examples to make his point, which was ultimately that there have been many obstacles when defining and legislating equality in Canada. My favourite example within the reading was when he was explaining discriminative laws for various jobs. He explained the role of a prison guard or a bouncer-these people must meet certain requirements, such as height and weight-but says that the law automatically discriminates against people who do not meet these requirements that could nevertheless fulfill the job position. ANTH 3027 - August 5th, 2010 - Jennie Keedwell, 100767545 ▯ This weekʼs first reading, chapter 3 of the textbook by Cees J. Hamelink and Julia Hoffman, was the first article that we have read that really made it clear to me how the Cold War affected the Right to Communicate. Although other readings touched on this event as a stoppage in the debate, Hamelink and Hoffman really showed how. I now understand it to be because of the threat of expansion from both the East and the West. With this threat, clearly leaders and politicians alike were hesitant to allow free communication, because this would have allowed for more cultural invasion - something the Cold War was battling. Overall I really enjoyed this article because it consistently draws parallels between the Right to Communicate and historical events and advances. I was also interested in learning the “kinds of rights,” as I am new to the area of Human Rights and do not know many of the basic terms and definitions. ▯ Leeʼs article, chapter 5 of the textbook, is arguing that by analyzing, recognizing, and building upon communication rights, society can identify and overcome political, economic, and cultural obstacles, which they call an “enabling environment.” I find this to be an interesting concept, especially when considering the eight goals of the Millennium Development project. Access to knowledge to me seems to be key in these issues, and for that reason it seems obvious that building upon communication rights would be important in targeting the areas of poverty and hunger, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, environment, and global partnership. The MDG is something I have been keen to learn more about since I was introduced to it in my Development class, and I feel Lee did a great job of drawing this issue together with communication. ▯ I found the last reading, “Talking about Culture” by Markowitz, to be extremely interesting. The aim of the essay is put really well by the author: “...this essayʼs aim is to spur a historically contextualized understanding of why it is that so many people out on the streets ʻwant cultureʼ...” I find this question pertinent, because it really is true that even people who do not study anthropology seem to have a fascination with ʻcultureʼ or some idea of it. Markowitz puts much of this down to the fight against globalization, and this is where the idea of culture ties into the topic of the course. Ultimately, the only way to fight being out under the all-encompassing canopy of globalization is to solidify a local culture. Markowitzʼs first example, Russia in the post-soviet era, is very clear in showing how globalization could be seen as a negative encounter. For them, it was effectively seen as Americanization, and what they did was strengthen their culture in order to decrease their vulnerability to ʻglobalization.ʼ Culture gives people a place in the world, and in a scenario where globalization is happening regardless of the efforts against it by some. I overall liked the perspective of this article and I feel that it clearly outlined and explained the connections between globalization and culture - which interested me as an anthropology student. ANTH 3027 - August 5th, 2010 - Jennie Keedwell, 100767545 ▯ Chapter 8 of the textbook, “Rights on Paper, but Not in Practice: A History of State Censorship in Canada” by Patricia Mazepa, focuses on why and how the government chooses to take control over communication in times of crisis, as is evident throughout Canadian nineteenth century history and in the present time. The chapter focuses on four periods in Canadian history (World War One and Two, the Cold War, and the FLQ October crisis) and reviews the measures that the government took to rein in communication, and citizensʼ rights to it. I find this subject makes me feel torn, as I do agree that the methods were not in “reasonable proportion” to the threat, however I do
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