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Chapter Six- Complementarity and the Social Control of Youth Dissent .doc

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Sociology 2105A/B
James Cote

Chapter Six- Complementarity and the Social Control of Youth Dissent - looking at insight’s from George Orwell’s dystopia Nineteen Eighty-Four, in addition to Huxley’s Brave New World, we can see analogies that highlight what is otherwise accepted as normal and inevitable in contemporary societies Ideological Control - general public equates totalitarian society with communist society, most assume that Orwell’s fictitious totalitarian society was based on the Soviet Union b/c of intrusiveness of the gov and absence of individual liberty - principle benefits of ideological control: the controlled are not even aware of the fact that they are controlled, and as a consequence, they offer little or no resistance to it - visible in American foreign policy- energies directed at helping other countries become “democratic” like the US- false consciousness - Huxley in Brave New World, talking about young ppl in contemporary Western culture “a really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude - the apathy and alienation in today’s youth combines to make them unwitting pawns - if servitude can be masked as freedom to choose and to spend their money on an endless array of youth identity then no real need to resort to physical coercion - furthermore, if apathy is defined as freedom not to participate meaningfully in the dominant institutions of their society, as in the case of the moratorium period”, the controlled (youth) do not even perceive the extent of their manipulation and disenfranchisement The Principle of Complementarity - challenge for successful rulers is to secure the consent of the ruled, especially in situations where the latter do not stand to benefit - Baldus (1975) argues that social control can be effected in one of two ways: either physically, via the deliberate intervention of some body or agency, or more subtly and ideologically by the manipulation of what he calls “complementary conditions” - ideological control is slower to effect, more indirect, less easily resisted, but more difficult to escape once established ∴ more effective in the long run - as a strategy of control, manipulation of “complementary conditions” involves either the use of existing patterns of behaviour within the population and society at large, or the deliberate creation of such behaviour patterns - where behaviour is complementary it will be encouraged, used, or exploited; where such patterns of behaviour do not exist beforehand, those who stand to benefit will attempt to ascertain the possibilities of creating them - playing upon the fundamental conservatism of a significant proportion of the American people, the CIA was able to use their fear and suspicion of radical politics to discredit the civil rights movement and other political causes that were critical of the establishment - while CIA did not directly create the climate of fear and suspicion, its prior existence represented “important complements essential to the success of the Agency’s operations by contributing to the delegitimization of such movements and causes - practical example of the apathy described in Orwell’s Nineteen Eight Four may be seen in the youth apathy alluded to - if there is pre-existing widespread apathy and distraction, the controllers may seek to perpetuate it - in the event that such apathy and distraction are not present, they are created by the authorities via the active promotion of varsity sports leagues, student clubs, fraternity and sorority memberships, and so on - during the 1980’s there was much talk of the so-called “Me Generation”, which refers to as ascendance of the ideology of individualism and the primacy of financial well-being - unlike 1960’s when a large segment of the youth sought to find meaning in relationships with others and to explore alternative philosophies of life, we have witnessed over the last 20 years a progressive disengagement of youth as a group from a concern with these existential issues in their lives COMPLEMENTARITY ILLUSTRATED The Mass Media - avg American teen spends btw 6-7 hours/day with some form of mass media, which is more than the 6.5 hrs spent in school - apprehension involved the fear that some sort of moral degeneration would take place when young people are exposed to “adult” themes - concern is with how consumption of this material cultivates an ethos of consumerism, conformism, and immediate gratification at the expense of a critical consciousness - accordingly, those aspects of youth behaviour that are complementary to dominant economic interests are encouraged in the bulk of the messages transmitted, while those that threaten those interests are discouraged by the content of these media - “teenzines”- teen magazines that came out in the 1940’s, shortly after the creation of the “teenager” - teenzines are popular magazines directed at young women (more recently young men)- many argue that they play on young women’s insecurities about their appearance and sexuality, socializing them to intensify their feminine characteristics wit
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