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Post Uni Blues: My motorboard drowned in the deep blue sea.

I  researched on depression after university, so I typed in “Depression after university ” on the search bar at Google and the results automatically popped up with many headings including: “Post uni blues”, “Post-College Depression”, “Depression after uni” and “Post-graduation depression”. The first row caught my eye was an article entitled: Post-Graduation Depression published in The Guardian in late 2001. I clicked on the link, leading me to read the interesting article. Having read similar experiences from various websites and personal blogs, I start to realised I was suffering from it.

According to the article, it is considered to be a common phase among most graduates, as they are leaving behind the culture of  lecturers, seminars, assignments, waking up late, all night partying, getting drunk on cheap cider and other alcoholic beverages at the SU, dieting on takeaways, baked beans on toast to hand in their Student IDs and NUS cards to find their feet in the big wide pond, the labour market. The labour market are quite ruthless towards new upcoming graduates who are wet behind the ears by the traditional stereotype that a degree earns you a first class ticket into the labour market. Unfortunately, I happened to be one of them.

The biggest symptom I picked up was insomnia where I find myself going to bed at 7 in the morning and wake up at 3 or 9.30 at night smelling of dried up sweat, the aftermath from every crippling anxiety attack. The minute I tossed my own cap up in the neutral warm sky, I found myself instantaneously crippled with constant anxiety attacks and bewilderment on what the future may hold.  I was forced to accept the epiphany that I was transitioning from the regressed naive mature student who assimilated to the student culture to constantly fight in a battle to adapt to the world of uncertainty and competition. Everyday, my mind has been constantly intruded by various career options including, lawyer, chef, doctor, journalist and the list goes on without giving me a chance to select a definite route that suits me.

I spent my time brainstorming on possible career options that is relevant to my degree (Criminology and Sociology Joint) so I would not feel I wasted three years of studying a subject that I’m not going to implement into something constructive. Somehow, the word “Journalism” constantly pops in my subconscious mind the most as I considered myself to be highly observant with a fascination of people, alarmed by current affairs and historical events that provides a legacy from generations to generations to come. Above all, have a subconscious passion for writing and expressing my knowledge onto paper.

However, that idea and the hope of breaking the vicious circle was short-lived by the  invasion of the “Special Needs” Label which dominated and tormented my mental psyche yelling at me: “Although you got that 2:1, you’re still the special needs boy. You’re not gonna be anybody, you’re nothing, you’re dumb and always gonna make a fool out of yourself in whatever you do!” That label had haunted me throughout my childhood, my school days,  my adolescence and now post – graduation.

The only way to escape from the blues and the harsh realities of unemployment,  competitions and discrimination held in the big wide world was to dissociate into my daydream state. At mostly times, force myself to sleep. I managed to wake up, only to join the dole queue signing on, researching and making various and numerous applications to recruitment sites or bullied into meeting up with friends who are still in university where one of them cannot take “no” for an answer and doesn’t seem to understand my circumstances.

I took a trip down to memory lane in early August to the town centre, the park where I used to socialise and play imaginatively with the other children, the schools I attended, things have changed dramatically. The park used to have swings, benches where I usually sit down by myself staring at wide scenery feeling in touch with nostalgia whenever I hear echoes of my childhood screams of glee pleading people to stop when I was span around on the rotating poles to a point I hallucinated with the bright green field.

Now, the whole park has been filled with a large mass of green grass covering a huge space of carefree innocence, another tell – tale sign that I have no choice but to enter the world of adulthood. I can have a bit of fun and relax once in a while. The only thing that concerns me as a post-graduate adult is to rather think on independently and logically rather than being dependent on others. Whenever I wake up, the first noise that hit my hears were the joyful screams coming from the lungs of children in the school playground giving me that nostalgic sense of being carefree and comforted are now permanently vanished.

The mixed feelings of sadness and resentment invades mind driving me to sleep again until those screams die out. It sent me another nostalgic feeling when I was a kid, running around feeling protected from potential grown ups who would peer through the fence. Hearing these screams made me want to jump onto the fast train reversing back to my childhood. Unfortunately, train journeys are not a fan of reversing backwards, same with the hands of time who is also not a fan of turning anti-clockwise. Both train journeys and the hands of the clock are passionate about moving forward so I guess I have no choice but to move forward even though it’s tempting to rewrite history, an easy option for those who dwell onto guilt and regret.

I instantly became the same person before I return to college undertaking an Access course, a fast – track ticket to university, watching daytime television shows, joining the dole queue at my job centre to sign on so I can get my fortnightly benefits motivating me to search for work with no intention on what I wanted to do in the long-term but to use the benefit money to build my bank balance, whilst sending in CVs and completed job application forms to various sites and companies with no intention on what I want to do.

I spent most of my post-uni period grieving my 3 years of freedom and self-discovery by looking through uni photos posted onto my Facebook account, repeatedly reading my essays scribbled with ticks, feed-backs and grammatical errors, which led me to bully myself telling myself : “You should have worked harder to obtain a First as that was your aim” Rather than having my own best friend who who keeps reminding me: “It’s better to get a 2:1 than a low mark or no honors at all. Each day starts with me fighting off the feelings of despair, vulnerability and hopelessness into remission only for those feelings to return like an unpleasant boomerang.

These patterns continue to fluctuate throughout Christmas and into the start of 2012. I have already passed the I’m feeling “suicidal” phase and now just surviving and getting on with life struggles. My laziness and insomnia started to take a massive toll on my family as I cannot do simplest tasks, like taking the bins out to be collected, vacuum the whole house and ironing my clothes. One day, I eventually found the strength to drag out the vacuum cleaner  from the cloakroom to start my daily therapeutic outlet, followed by laundry duties. I  learnt to take things easy as it comes, like catch up the latest episodes of Family Guy, Coronation Street, Law and Order, followed by browsing the channel menu of Sky Plus for the latest movies to retreat from the psychological uncertainty by my imagination.

During the post-graduate depressive experience, I start to reflect on past mistakes I made as an undergraduate. One of the mistakes was not planning at the start of my final year by brainstorming  post-graduate routes as I was distracted by the pressures of writing an undergraduate dissertation, essays, falling  into the wrong crowd, participating political protests, and on top of that, allowing myself to be dominated by the “Special Needs” label, the main root of my anxiety and low self-esteem. Cheesy as it sounds I begin to  appreciate even the little things which people take for granted.

Three years later, I have recovered gradually, but still have some symptoms of anxiety, which lessened thanks to positive thinking. After months on a government – funded work programme, without any positive outcome, it looks like on a subconscious level, is to reinstate into academics for a master’s degree and progress onto a PhD. This sounds like a promising and optimistic idea. Although I would be aware on regards of numerous internships and work experiences I obtain, the chances to be a victim of the “catch 22” with a burden of debt is fifty – fifty. Despite of the possibilities weighed up including the risk of another post – graduate depressive relapse, I know it will be worth it in the long run.

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The Special Needs label: The impact of the life SENtence

According to the article Sentenced to Failure, it reveals that Ofsted have accused schools for exploiting the special needs label as a tool to cover poor teaching strategies. The  SEN (Special Education Needs) label was used to measure pupils by socio -economic backgrounds especially, those who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As a result, some of them will suffer a lifetime of failure, self-doubt and in some cases, severe psychological issues and mental distress.

Although poverty was never viewed as an eligible reason for the SEN, pupils who are from lower and working class backgrounds or socio – economical deprived areas are more likely to receive the label than their middle class counterparts. Additionally, pupils are twice more likely to be given the label if they receive free school meals. Katherine Ann Angel, a teacher and author with years of experience in fostering and teaching children with special educational needs believes that children who come from poor working class families are prone to be stamped by the label.

Although there is a presence of ADHD,  some of the pupils are victims of poor parenting. Despite of the tremendous impact the special needs label can have on pupils, some of them managed to rise above the SEN tag by sending them to schools that provides empathy and positive encouragement like Tim for example, who was on the SEN when he was seven and his prognosis was slim. However, when he attended secondary school, he was emancipated from the SEN label as the teachers considered it was “pointless” which gave him the confidence to accomplished 11 GCSEs and sailed to university to study for a degree in sports. This example shows a pillar of optimism as we should acknowledge that a child’s position should not be determined by the SEN label and other characteristics on regards of class, race and cultural backgrounds as long as they have the right help, understanding, guidance and support. Thus pupils should be encouraged to participate in activities with intention to develop a healthy degree self – esteem and self – confidence.

However, some of them were not so lucky as some feel that this label may give a temporary signal that a child in academic distress and the label already caused emotional and psychological damage. Sean is one example, he was the fifth of seven children who missed out a momentous amount of primary education because of poor parenting and exposure to child abuse and neglect. Consequently, led him to become an SEN case. Despite his unstable childhood and the SEN label, he displayed an above average level in reading and ignited his fascination with learning through a one to one private tuition by a foster parent who was also a teacher. However he reinstated into foster care and out of education. Eventually, a serious crime landed him a prison sentence. This is an obvious example on how negative influences can increases the child’s chances of receiving the SEN label which can eventually exacerbate a child’s likelihood to engage in delinquency and criminal activities.

On reference to the article, Every Child Matters? The Impact of special educational needs programmes reveals that special educational needs programmes are designed to meet the needs of children who are perceived to be slower than their non special needs labelled counterparts, with the intention to give them time to adjust to their specific learning difficulties through the help of the SEN Code of practice. Although the programme aims to tackle a child’s particular learning difficulty, it serves as a weapon of humiliation and dehumanization, leaving them to fall into a future cycle of diagnostic labelling. The SEN also exacerbates the extent of their difficulties rather to help them succeed according to their unique learning ability. Another potential use of the SEN is that it will create a series of culture conflict, especially those who are from Black Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds, intensifed by an unconscious level of institutional racism which would eventually lead them to a cycle of marginalization and exclusion from schools and other education institutions and in consequence, the SEN label may persist into adulthood.

Education institutions continue to apply the SEN label as a quick fix to mask the problems that are endured by pupils, such as child abuse, bullying, those from broken environments, those from ethnic minority backgrounds and those from areas that breeds drugs, alcoholism and anti – social behaviour, in preference to find and use effective methods that would neutralise these problems. The special needs label could be viewed as a motivation tool to help them take personal responsibility with the purpose to thrive academically and life in general with the help and support from the right people. However on an unconscious level, the SEN, label can be exploited by education authorities with intention to have control over those who are from bottom  level of the socio – economic hierarchy.

http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/cp285.pdf

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6219928

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Why aging is so different among various cultures?

In western societies, we were taught from a young age to respect our elders. We are usually conditioned to give up our seats on buses, trains and benches in shopping centres to the elderly. Discounts on bus fees, haircuts, cinemas and gym membership are made affordable them as their pension cannot cover the average fees, as those from higher class backgrounds and active members of society can. We were discouraged from using inappropriate language, such as profanity,  languages of sexual nature or languages which reflects on ageism at their personal space as we do around children. We would see old people as lovely and wonderful people who say “hello” to people as they walk past.

However, as time moves on and things start to change, some people begin to show a lack of respect towards old people. Nowadays, the elderly are targeted for fraud, mugging, burglary and harassment. Newspaper articles are plastered with photos of old people covered in black eyes and bruises, having been mugged and attacked by young people. Even stories and news reports features them becoming victims of white-collar crimes to serious and disturbing crimes, such as rape, sexual assault and even murder. The elderly are now being perceived as “feeble and vulnerable” burdens to society (BBC News). Stories reveal that old people are now on the receiving end of  medical treatment, treated disrespectfully and neglected in hospitals and care homes. There are subconscious common belief that  young people do not show any respect towards old people and now rarely, people do not even make an attempt to give up their seats for the elderly and even pregnant women in buses and trains.

Old age is seen as historical and cultural and construction of a natural phenomenon. There are few positive views on ageing, as it’s inevitable and it’s a life process, they are seen as the “masters” of knowledge, they live in a centuries where well-known historical events happen such as World War, The Holocaust and the Racial Segregation in the 1940s. In the negative perspective, they are perceived to be a problem to society and an economic burden in the healthcare and social security sectors. They are dependent on other people, such as their caregivers, adult children and members from health and social services. They are already be deprived of their independence because of their physical health, particularly limited mobility. They often live alone, either widowed, separated or suffering from empty nest syndrome, a feeling of emptiness when their children grown up and flew the nest.

In African societies, old people are often treated with respect and dignity and seen as superior to the young generation. Unfortunately, old people make up the growing population of people living in poverty in areas that economically deprived and underdeveloped according to BBC News.  They are much more vulnerable than children to contact any illness such as, malaria, fever and HIV and AIDS. They start to play roles as caregivers to their ill stricken adult children and orphaned grandchildren. In India and China, old people live in extended and reconstituted families with their married children and grandchildren. There are some explanations why old people are knowledgeable because they have vast load of life experiences, than the young and middle age people. Some of them spend their retirement going on cruises, take up a new hobby or even go travelling or attempt to write a great novel.

Society stereotypically views the elderly as grumpy with have no sense of humour, whilst some of them are happy to tell stories and make jokes in a way to cope with negative burdens in which old age may bring.  They are well-mannered and seen as senior citizens and do not tolerate offensive language. Their upbringings and education and experiences have made them matured and carry a huge bag of  wisdom, eager to donate to the younger generation as they witnessed various historical events. Thus old age should be seen as a burden nor as a root of envy. Most of all, should be seen as an inevitable process, which may bring a series of emotions which are seen in other life changes.

In America, older people are spoiled by luxuries since social security facilities were started in 1935. The life expectancy in america has increased to 77 years. They are taking advantage of good quality healthcare and prescription drugs. Some of them are wealthy with an income worth $100,000. In Argentina, the elderly are mistreated economically and socially and often neglected. They make up just under 12% of the population. Some of them receive old age pension whilst more than 1.5 million have no insurance and live in the line of poverty.  In Abkhazistan, a suburb in southern Russia, 1 in 4000 live beyond 100 years old and make up the population of old people living longer. They do not have worries about ageing as us, Britons and secondly, they work beyond the retirement age, working in fields, where they take care of the flocks of sheep and look after their great-grandchildren.

In Britain and western societies, old age is seen as a problem economically and physically.  However in other societies, the elderly are seen as powerful and superior by knowledge and wisdom, such as Japan, where they continue to work enabling them to gain prestige, wealth, power and status. Old people have more life experiences than the younger generation because they grew up in poverty, severe hardships where facilities were not available, witnessed historical unforgettable events, that provided them with valuable lessons and provision of a rich dose of wisdom and resiliency. During their time they never had economic rewards like we have now, such as technology, sanitation, better education and improved healthcare and medical facilities ,which we take for granted.

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How can the impact of poverty be understood in contemporary society?

poverty729-620x349When the word poverty is mentioned, we are captivated by an image of a child no younger than seven wandering the dusty wide streets of a third world country. We are captured by feelings of desperation, hunger, sadness, loneliness and vulnerability through his swollen tearful eyes after an hours’ search for a taste of satisfaction. A picture of his skeletal body pressing onto his flesh mounted on every charity leaflet displayed by street fundraisers we are approached by in our local high streets or a homeless man at the street corner only be heard by the cardboard reading: Homeless and Hungry Please help with an exclamation mark.

Tower block of flats with stairwells overpowered by heavy stench of  urine littered with dirty needles, debris of dust, empty food packets, dried on newspapers and magazine strips. A row of houses with windows patched with wood and walls patterned by graffiti, showing threats, offensive slurs and hatred presumably written by domineering and bullying feral minded youths with the routine of getting drunk on cheap alcohol purchased from shops on what their hostile minds refer as “The Paki Shop”  a typical derogatory banter shared between each member, an obvious reaction after being intoxicated by the cheap booze, brought with their “free money” from the government. Their vocabularies are largely spat out with a tirade of profanityand the only role reputation they have is to be thugs and anti – social menaces. This obviously captures our mind about the consequences of what poverty can bring, hostility and resentment towards those are from middle and upper class backgrounds.

Poverty is a major social issue along with racism, ageism, social exclusion and sexism. Although poverty is acknowledged and there are certain policies with the aim to neutralise  its high numbers, it continues to be a major issue worldwide. Poverty is not difficult to define as comes int two forms. Absolute poverty,  according to Rowntree (1890’s) is to have insufficient funds for their human rights. In clarity, the amount of income a person needs to pay rent, for food and clothing. Being poor also defines not having the materialistic needs to be accepted within the social norms of society in which Townsend (1970’s) defines as relative poverty. Relative poverty is obviously used to explain poverty in western societies where computers and mobile phones are used to be seen as luxuries in the past. Today, it’s becoming a norm for people to own them. If they do not have any of those items, they may be classified as poor and could make them feel excluded from society.

Functionalists like Davis and Moore (1967) and Parsons (1951) see inequality as unavoidable and is essential for society to create social cohesion. In comparison to other social groups, those who from below the poverty-stricken backgrounds remain stuck especially those as their environment lack opportunities that help them to escape poverty, such as apprenticeships, education and work training programmes. Thus, can be a breeding ground for anti-social behaviour caused by the feelings of frustration among subcultures that live there. Poverty can be seen as an incentive to motivate people, especially those who live poverty-stricken towns and neighbourhoods to find ways to better their chances to leave the depressing position behind by taking advantage of education and government related employment programmes. However, they are motivated by financial rewards rather than enrolling on programmes that aim to help them build their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Marxists thinkers like Westgaard and Resler (1976) and Kincaid (1979) argue that the bourgeoisie use poverty as an aid to help them meet their own selfish interest by exploiting the feelings of powerlessness and frustration held in the proletarians . Consequently, inequalities are created and eventually, lead to conflict and resentment by the proletarians towards the bourgeoisie .  The strength of this explanation is that it highlights the concentration of wealth in the capitalist market and explains the ruling class uses the welfare state as a weapon to prevent the poor from rebelling against the capitalist system. Another criticism of the Marxist lens is it ignores the positives inequalities may bring. For example, it will give the poor and those from working class backgrounds the motivation and persistence to rise success and additionally, ameliorate their levels in resilience and coping skills.

Weberian thinkers like Townsend (1970) believe that inequalities are a result of the demands from the labour market and it is strongly influenced by characteristics, such as race, gender, age and  level of education.  From the explanation highlights some points that people can be blamed for causing poverty especially issues of racism and sexism. They (Weberians) also believe that people are enslaved in the poverty trap because they lack the power to force other social groups to increase their level of reward. However, Weberian thinkers can be criticised for ignoring the causes of poverty in individuals, such as discrimination in race, age, disability and socio-economic backgrounds. This (Weberian) approach is seen as  more sensitive to these issues of stratification and inequalities and do not see inequality as the cause of poverty. They see that inequalities focus on power and demands from the labour market. Weberians concurs  with the Marxists that inequality is unavoidable in the capitalist system. However, they do not mean that poverty itself is unavoidable. Inequalities can be reduced through progressive taxation, which means that the more money people earn, the more taxes they pay and suggest that relative poverty should be eliminated. This they believe could neutralise the financial burdens endured by those who are from lower and working class backgrounds.

The New Right believe capitalist economies play a key role in poverty  because businesses need to gain more profits by making sure that public spending are kept short. They (New Right) also believe the welfare state is to blame for causing poverty indirectly by forcing entrepreneurs to make higher tax payments. Consequently,  job opportunities are not created. They  feel the welfare state is responsible for encouraging people to be more interested in claiming benefits, which creates fatalistic attitudes, believing they are better off living on handouts rather than working for a minimum wage as they are put off by the possiblity of rejection from potential employers and a vicious no win situation. However, a criticism of the New Right is that poverty would increase if the welfare state was eradicated, thus exacerbating the levels of mixed emotions among those who are already trapped. They will unable to afford a healthy diet, leaving them susceptible to common illnesses, which could leave them absent from the labour market. This means, they won’t be receive a regular income to cover the basic needs for survival.

Women are more likely to suffer from poverty than men because of discrimination and demands of their stereotypical roles in patriarchal societies. Since the feminist’s movement in the 1960s, which severed ties with patriarchy, women are now striving for education and careers. However, women are more likely to gain part – time and menial jobs and this could have an impact on their pensions in later life. Women tend to dominate single parent families than men, making their chances of obtaining employment more challenging because of childcare duties. As a result, become more dependent on the state, leaving them sinking into a vicious circle. Feminists, especially those with radical views can argue the welfare state discourages women from seeking employment and as welfare state symbolises patriarchal control and feel threaten to be sanctioned if they work. Glendinning and Millar (1994) stressed that women may be restricted of access to other types of benefits and only 60% of women are entitled for maternity leave.

Women who are in the poverty trap tend to exploit the welfare state by producing more babies and could lose their benefits if they obtain employment. This can be seen as a criticism ignored by feminist thinkers additionally, the subject of prostitution, where women will engage in this risky activity to achieve the basic needs for survival especially those with children. This would result them to abuse particularly rape by their pimps and clients if they refuse to give them their services, in fear of having unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. This would eventually leave them permanently incarcerated in the poverty trap.

Neera Sharma, a Policy Officer from Barnados (BBC News) says that poverty can impact a child’s personal, social and educational development. Lack of a healthy diet, hygiene and unconditional love play a part in child poverty. The cycle of deprivation by Rutter and Madge (1976) illustrates on how poverty can have an effect on people. For example, a child be born into poverty, grows up in a council estate and gains the lower class status. They may suffer from health problems because of their poor diet and this would affect their education performance and consequently, drop outwith no qualifications and difficulties of holding down a job and the cycle persists into adulthood. This could provoke them to engage in criminal activities to achieve the basic, materialistic or both needs . Therefore, it would make it difficult for them obtain employment, mirroring the cycle of deprivation. Eventually this cycle can be passed on from generation to generation. This can influence them and adopt this as a way of life manifest the fatalistic attitudes and refuse opportunities in employment and education.

People with disabilities are at risk of  poverty their  able – bodied counterparts as their physical health restricts them from seeking employment and if they do obtain employment, it would be low skilled and low paid. Oppenheim and Harker (1996) estimated that 47% of disabled were living in poverty in the 1980s. They also argue that higher rates of poverty among disabled people were partly due to social exclusion and discrimination because of the hostile attitudes held in the minds of the able-bodied and the stigma held in mainstream society, where they are labelled as “abnormal”. Alcock (1997) points out that disabled people are more likely to suffer from social exclusion and material poverty than able-bodied, thus increasing levels of depression and low self-esteem.

Disabled people have higher spending costs on items such as heating, adaptable aids, transport and heating than most people. 46% of disabled people lived in the poorest conditions in 1985 and reduced down to 38% in 1996 and 1997. The disability living allowance is designed to prevent financial hardships in disabled people and provided incentives, such as skills training and work preparation enabling them to seek employment. However, it can be criticised for ignoring that people can overcome their overcome with the right support and help from charities and governmental programmes specialising in disabilities. Another criticism of disability as it tends to concentrate on physical immobility and not those who are suffer specific learning disabilities, such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Asperger’s Syndrome. Thirdly, mental health is ignored as those who live with conditions particularly, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are prone to prejudice and discrimination as the hostility held in society views them “crazy” or “mentally abnormal”. Thus excerabates their chances of entering the labour market and mainstream society.

Those who are from Black and Ethnic minority backgrounds are twice at risk of experiencing poverty than their white counterparts. Racial discrimination is obviously seen as the core root of poverty and unemployment. Institutional racism in education is a major problem in contemporary society as teachers hold subconscious negative racial stereotypes and lack understanding in cultural diversity and direction in schools, which result in low education attainment and poor academic performance within black and ethnic minoritity groups, provoking them to drop out. This eventually leads to a restriction of job opportunities and therefore, subject them to be permanently trapped in the cycle of deprivation. Thus, engage in criminal activities, such as drug dealing, theft, fraud and robberies against their white counterparts to express deep-rooted feelings of resentment.

Scott and Fulcher (1999) note that two – thirds of Pakistani and Bangladeshi families are in the bottom fifth of the income distribution in Britain. He also argues that ethnic minorities can experience problems with the benefits system as they receive a fewer amount benefits than their white counterparts and they feel the welfare state does not respond to cultural or family issues  e.g. Afro – Caribbeans are more likely to face poverty because they have higher numbers of single parenthood and treatment by staff at their local job centre. Ethnic groups are more like to be socially excluded due to of racism and language barriers if English is not their first language. Alcock (1997) notes that poor housing; ill-health and lack of education could be linked to financial inequality in the Black and Ethnic minorities, making it obvious that strong levels of racist attitudes held in hegemonic institutions, which can back up argument  causes of poverty within the black  and ethnic communities. Alcock can be criticised for ignoring the link between racial hostility and poverty in black and ethnic minorities especially held in institutions and towns that are predominately white.

In conclusion, poverty continues to make a negative impact in contemporary society, through the theoretical lenses. Marxist thinkers resent the ruling class for the cause of poverty among the poor. However, the chances to rise above the poverty line lies in the self-belief and personal responsibility regardless of their characteristics. Unfortunately, enraged by the negative feelings experienced by poverty, some turn to crime, not knowing it would create a cycle of deprivation for their offsprings. Weberians made good points that people are to blame for their own poverty by refusing to take offers from the labor market and opportunities in education because of their fatalistic attitude. They also argue that poverty indicates the issue of power and status within the labour market along with inequalities. Functionalist thinkers argue poverty cannot be eradicated as it is needed to a certain degree to create social cohesion. Feminist thinkers feel that poverty reveal issues of sexism feeling the welfare state and benefit handouts favours the interest of patriarchy and women are seen as victims of  so-called “patriarchal welfare slavery”.

Class handouts: Sociology AS for AQA, Wealth poverty and welfare p274 – 81.

Class handouts: Poverty and Inequalities.

Class handouts: Theoretical explanations for poverty and the Welfare State.

Class handouts: Individual and groups most at risk of poverty.

Haralambos, M, Holborn, M, Heald, R Sociology Themes and Perspectives: Chapter 5: Poverty and social exclusion, (2000), 5ed, HarperCollins, London, p313 – 14, 334 – 41.

Class handouts: Chapter 4 Poverty and social exclusion p 258 – 61.

Rowntree, S. (1901) Poverty: A study of Town Life, Macmillan, London.

Townsend, P. (1970) ‘Measures and explanations of poverty in high and low-income countries in Townsend (ed.) (1970). (ed.) (1970) The Concept of Poverty, Heinemann, London.

Davis, K and Moore, W.E (1967 first published, 1945) ‘Some principles of stratifications’ in Bendix and Lipset (eds) (1967).

Parsons, T (1951) The Social System, The Free Press, New York.

Westergaard, J. and Resler, H. (1976) Class in a Capitalist Society, Penguin, Harmondsworth.

Kincaid, J. (1979) ‘Poverty and the Welfare State’ in Irvine et al (ed.) (1979).

Glendinning, C. and Millar, J. (1994) Women and Poverty in Britain: The 1990s, Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hemel Hempstead.

Oppenheim, C. and Harker, L. (1996) Poverty: Facts, 3rd edn, CPAG, London.

Alcock, P. (1997) Understanding Poverty, 2nd edn, Macmillan Basingstoke.

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Has scientific invention made society better or worse?

Imagine someone being rushed to floors of the local Accident and Emergency with a severed hand after an accident and was told by surgeons that the only option was to amputate it as they believe the hand is damaged beyond repair. Instead, they experimented with a special substance on the amputated region and eventually, the hand grew back identically to one which was lost. Cell regeneration is a fascinating topic which could bring hope in the future and revolutionize modern medicine. It’s the process of an organism replacing body parts. It is often seen as a healing process and noted for its ability to regrow amputated limbs, severed nerves, lost organs, eyes and wounds without any scaring. Amphibians such as frogs, newts and salamanders have this ability. I am asking a question on whether scientific invention in future medicine on cell regeneration will make society better or worse? Scientific invention can be created by using technology and science in medicine, physics and chemistry in a way to make us happier, independent, healthier and wealthier and wiser.

Limb regeneration will be a possible treatment in medicine thanks to a process called differentiation which involves the cells wrapping around the wound lose their identity. The cells then transform themselves into a cluster of cells called Blastema. Blastema cells are made up of stem cells which will then revise and transform into the type of cells required for limb growth. Scientists David Gardiner, a research biologist and his Dr Susan Bryant, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California at Irvine have discovered the reason why human beings cannot regenerate body parts like the mentioned species. They believed that the signals in our genes which control the behaviour of limb growth were switched off.

Theories explained that we can regenerate everything including the limbs whilst we were in embryo. If a fetus had an operation which involves going under the knife and is expected to have an incision scar and surprisingly, after the baby is born, the scar which was sited on the region where the incision was made is literally invisible as if it was never had surgery. Unfortunately, soon as we are born, the genetic signals which play the role of limb growth are switched off and instead, the body responds to scarring and once the limb or any other body part is extracted, It will never grow back.

Assumptions explained that we can regenerate 25% of our livers. This is due to unipotency of hepatocytes, the mass of cells, which plays a role in storing protein and transformation of starch into energy and conversion of protein, cholesterol and bile salts by using DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (Ribonucleic acid). Nadia Rosenthal from the Howard Hughes Institute believes we can regenerate our ribs if the membrane, which surrounds the lining of the rib, is still intact. The rib is often used as a bone graft for reconstructive surgery. We can also regenerate blood, bone marrow and the membranes in our stomach and small intestines. Cell regeneration will revolutionise the world of medicine and make life easier for doctors and patients. This will save time of doctors amputating body parts and also save money for patient as prosthesis are quite expensive depending on the brand such as Ossur and Dorset Ortho.

Violence,  work related accidents, which involves using machines which are dangerous and malfunctioned, not properly fixed or neglected and car accidents. Diseases such as, cancer and bacterial diseases such as necrotising fascitis and particularly bacterial meningitis, especially its dangerous form meningococal  septicaemia with meningitis or alone are responsible for limb loss and other body parts. Although prosthesis and grafting techniques such as nerve grafting, transplanting nerves onto a muscle area such as the chest to help  amputees like Jesse Sullivan, a former electrician who lost both arms after he accidentally touched an active cable which contain a voltage of between 7,000 – 7,500 to control the limbs by using his brain. The reality is that the prosthesis will not be good as the ones we are born with and often took for granted.

Losing a body part or a limb can have a devastating impact on the individual as it will alter their lifestyle. Prosthetic limbs are required to be worn for a limited amount of time and had to be changed and upgraded annually depending on the growing process of the person. Prosthesis can sometimes have inadequate fitting and unsuitable for some people. The loss of a limb can also have an impact on their families as they have to give up their lifestyles and jobs to take care of them as they cannot do things themselves. Society’s subconscious negative towards disabled people and the obsession of being normal could have an influence on the, emotional and psychological well-being of the individual as it could give them a sense of anger, resentment, guilt, self – pity, numbness, sadness and they could even suffer from depression, self body image and suffer from suicidal thoughts. Although cell regeneration is a fascinating, curious topic, it can have a few downfalls such as the economical estimation of how much funding do scientists need in order to conduct more research and experiments on the possibility of regeneration and the actual cost of actually performing the procedure to the people who need it, especially in societies where healthcare is expensive. In the social aspects, this topic can cause a controversial debate and readers will show ambivalent views

Cell Regeneration is still a new discovery which could bring hope in the future and revolutionise  the culture and science in the area of medicine. This medical invention could benefit as it will help people lead normal lives and reinstate back to the normal routine than the routine they had when they were disabled and thus, enable to integrate in society and perceived as normal. On the other hand, it can make society worse because this topic illustrates society’s obsession with aesthetic perfectionism and ignores the message that inner appearance shapes our unique identities rather than our outer appearance. If cell regeneration does come into the light of medicine, it could cause conflict within the social hierarchy meaning, those who are above middle class can afford this extraordinary treatment than those who can’t afford it, thus it could lead to social conflict.

Philipkoski, K, (2006),www.wired.com/medtech/genetics/news/2006/09/071817(15th November 2007) 2

Bryner, J, (2006) How Salamanders sprout new limbs, http://www.livescience.com/animals/071101-newt-limbs.html,1st , 15th November 2007 2

Gardiner, DM, Bryant, SV (DRS), (2006), http://regeneration.bio.uci.edul , 15th November 2007 3

Highfield, R (2005) Doctors seek key to regrowing limbs, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main/jhtml-/news/2005/10/12/nregeneration,12.xml ( 2007),  22nd  November 2007

www.wikipedia.com 2, 4,5+ 8

theenglishman101, (2005) A report on Limb regeneration and the history of research,www.bbc/dna/h2g2/A4084030, 3rd December 2007. 2 + 10

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In what ways is our world becoming more globalised, and what are the consequences?

01_04What is Globalization? The word Globalization sends an image of a globe in our minds displaying the world continents that spins around contrasting the colors of blue and green together by a swipe of a finger, diverts us to a nostalgic memory of a typical geography session where we are obliged to remember every country’s capital city, the language they speak and it’s currency. Globalization is an interdependence of how messages and levels of communication are spread world-wide where we see the well-known clothing brands and electrical manufacturers distributed and used in a space of our living rooms, bedrooms to offices and shops to the slums and compounds of economically unhealthy countries. Technology and mass media communication are to credited for the mastermind of globalization especially through advertisements. Although Globalization is something that bring us together, however there could conflicts in race, culture and even in social hierarchies where the filthy rich could be given first class tickets to have access to the latest technologies and gadgets whereas those are way below the poverty are restricted.

The internet is a great tool for sending emails, browsing social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to keep in touch with friends we haven’t seen for a long time, the opportunity to meet people rather than waste time finding them or meet people in places we are not known to. We could also go onto encyclopedic websites such as Wikipedia and search engines such as Google and Ask Jeeves to search for topics that spark our interest and expand our knowledge, which are implemented into political debates and group discussions. Alternatively, provide writers and creative artist inspiration to produce future projects or we purchase, sell and exchange products on websites such as eBay and Amazon, where products are traditionally held at auctions at affordable prices compared to prices in high street stores or already purchased products which existed prior to our first entry into the world or something we remember growing up. We could also use the internet to buy, download or watch media materials, such as music, films, radio and television shows in our spare time or catch up with well-known soap operas and TV sitcoms especially story lines that relate to personal experiences and current problems which creates a form of social bond.

Even though the internet is a crucial aid for improving our lifestyles, especially in the development of today’s children, as they can play games and get in touch with their friends and research relevant topics to help with their homework assignments. The downfall is that the internet could put us at risk for developing obsessions and addictions. Customers who use the internet for buying stuff online and for online banking purposes, could put themselves as targets for deception, identity theft and fraud where people can hack into websites to gain customers personal details such as credit cards and bank statements that contain their account numbers. Since the satellite system now behaves as a “Big Brother” surveillance in storing records of our details such as postcodes and address in a national database. Despite this approach, it provides positive benefits, such as how CCTV is embedded in street lights and retail outlets and other areas of social control to aid company’s security and performance and aids our personal welfare so we could easily walk home alone in high confidence without the fear of criminal victimization.

Some people can use the internet for criminal activity, such as downloading, producing and distributing disturbing materials like images of child abuse and go onto chat – rooms in a way to create relationships with vulnerable victims in a process known as online grooming. Some can use the internet for cyber-bullying to harass their victims by making death threats through text messaging, writing emails and produce websites containing fabricating information and disturbing materials to promote hate campaigns. Physical activities include happy slapping, where people film physical violence and pranks on their mobiles and distribute on internet websites particularly You Tube in order to degrade, humiliate vulnerable victims or sometimes use it as a form of emotional blackmail with intent to dominate their victims. Now since cyber crime has gone out of proportion because of  film footages  reveal an increase of anti social behavior and minor crimes ranging from hitting, harassing people, vandalism to serious crimes where people are being set on fire, sexually assaulted and even murdered. This can cause victims to develop mental and emotional distress, leading them to suffer from low self-esteem issues to psychiatric disorders particularly Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Migration is not new to Globalization as it derives back to various historical events of migration, such as  the Great Migration to the United States in the Early 1600s, The Great Famine, The Barbarian Invasion in the Roman Empire, The Holocaust, The World Wars, which saw an increase of migration globally in the aftermath and The Great Depression, which saw a shortage of industrial workers. However, migration is forced through the example of the Trans Atlantic Triangle which saw the slaves abducted and transported from Africa to western societies to work on plantation farms. Migrants come in as a family unit, sub-cultural groups or as a single person in hope to seek economical opportunities with the hope to improve their life chances. Common reasons for migration includes receiving medical treatment, better education opportunities, to belong in a community and as part of exchange student programmes and career packages. The advantage of migration is to learn a new language and assimilate into the cultural norms and values the host country has to offer particularly, to take advantage of the healthcare and medical treatments available, whereas it’s not offered in their home countries. Their accent patterns especially in young children are influenced by the different cultures and their adopted environmental setting, giving a sense of identity and belonging. They will be overwhelmed by the opportunity to be educated in an economically healthy country as education is seen as the key to obtaining basic and materialistic wealth in western societies, whereas in other economically deprived societies, education is seen as a lottery ticket to escape the heavy burdens of living in poor conditions where they are at risk for common illnesses caused by poor sanitation.

The negative side of migration is that people who live in foreign countries for a long time are likely to be experience  “culture shock”. This may cause them to endure feelings of anxiety,alienation, bewilderment and struggle to adapt to the norms and value of their adopted countries. People who emigrate especially on their own could experience social and cultural isolation, homesickness and experience vulnerability, especially those who speak little or no adopted languages especially English as this language is predominately spoken and is seen as a ticket to ameliorate job prospects and patterns of communication. Human trafficking is a common globalized crime where people especially young girls and women are lured or kidnapped from Non -English speaking countries to be sexually exploited and coerced into prostitution through false promises of education and guaranteed permanent stay in economically healthy countries. As a result, they could be victims of rape and thus have their emotional and physical needs denied especially testings for pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases which could be passed onto potential clients. In the terms of the labour market, migrants could be seen as targets for resentment by members of their host country for the causes of unemployment and poverty. Simultaneously, become victims of maltreatment, bullying by their work colleagues due to little understanding of the English culture and underpay their wages which may not cover basic need for survival due to subconcious levels of racism. Those who come from predominately Islamic countries are prone will be targeted for racial profiling, exacerbated by the September 11th terrorist attacks and the 7th July bombings in London.

Clothes are produced from economically developed countries but now the production lines are created in poverty-stricken countries. Clothes are were always  imported from countries to countries especially Britain to stores such as Primark, which sell sophisticated clothing at cheap affordable prices. The downfall is that the majority of clothes are produced from garment factories and the majority of the workers are women. They are paid depending on the numbers of clothes they produced based, patterns of  motivation and fast they can work towards deadlines rather than get paid per hour. Basically, it is commission orientated. Even in some cases, the wages are not enough meet the basics needs for survival where western societies take for granted. The working conditions are sometimes poor and dangerous which could increase the workers chances of being involved fatal accidents and suffer injuries which could impact their physical and mental health in the short and long-term and could affect the company’s overall performance and their personal lives and chances for future employment.

Globalization is a phenomenon which continues to grow and is inevitable and could benefit us in the long run and simultaneously, intensify our current circumstances.  The world is becoming more globalised in many ways particularly, in the area of modern technology and communication developed with the ambition to improve our lives nevertheless, went on to be exploited for criminal and illegal purposes. We need globalization in order to experience, explore and experiment with different cultures, norms and values, to educate and create a social bond.

 

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Do we live in a network society?

The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge published in 1984 by Jean Francois Lyotard  is rumored to be the so-called “Self help book” that helps the audience to understand the arena of post-modernity. In his book, Jean Francois Lyotard discusses about the idea of knowledge and argues that knowledge is developed through the applications of science and technology. He is considered to be a narrative philosopher who explains things from his experiences and defines post-modernity as incredulity, disbelief about a fact moving towards meta-narratives, which is a story about story or “behind closed doors” explained from many perspectives. He believes that western societies are dominated by science and technology particularly cybernetics, where information is translated into pieces of data which is shared and easily accessible by us. In section 1 entitled: The Field: Knowledge in Computerised Society, he argues that people take advantage of technology to ameliorate their degree of knowledge which consist of listening to information through media and communication outlets, such as newspapers, televisions, radio etc. The purpose in which, he (Lyotard) could explain that technology creates a form of social cohesion via social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Lyotard compares the principle of money to the notion of knowledge as in exchanging degrees of knowledge among subcultures and social classes through agreements and negotiations (Lyotard 1984: 6).

However, in chapter 2: legitimization, Lyotard applies the metaphor “terror” to argue that human beings are easily manipulated by the media influences of consumerism and materialism, and are unconsciously coerced into obeying the rules held by authority. This applies to the rules within transport facilities, where people are obliged to pay transport fees otherwise, they would face the consequences of paying a fine or even face prosecution. In section 3, Lyotard moves on to discuss the method, the language game, which he views social system or social mobility as a game of chess which illustrates that people need to gain knowledge in order to survive the social system or progress from one social hierarchy to another. He argues that people are obliged to assimilate into learning the language and customs of its new culture with the expectation to adapt to their new environment such as the workplace and especially in academic fields, military and religious groups. This reflects the idiom of: “When in Rome, do what the Romans do”. In other words, Lyotard simply discusses about survival of the fittest where those survive and play the game well, receive rewards and mentions a single rule can change the whole game. However, some thinkers argue that people develop their own strategies to help them play the game successfully, or have a creative imaginative eye of looking at the game.

In sections 4 and 5, Lyotard highlights the debate between modernity and post-modernity in the nature of the social bond. In section 4, it reveals that Lyotard has a functionalist lens on modernity which was backed up by Talcott Parsons, another functionalist who argues that society is a self – regulated system. In clarity, people are drifting from a mechanical society where people share the same values, beliefs and norms to an organic society, where members are becoming independent (1967 cited in Lyotard 1984: 11). Lyotard also recommends that ethnography is essential to investigate and observe the behaviour and actions created by individuals in social settings to vindicate whether society is self – regulated. Lyotard argues that our position in life and identities are shaped by race, social class and gender along with a certain degree of materialism, meaning our styles in fashion. In sections 6 and 7, Lyotard talks about pragmatics in narrative and scientific formats. Lyotard argues that science comes in two versions, first is  a subject is determined by an individual’s experience, such as near death experiences or adverse effects and second, a science that consists of a topic provided with a hypothesis and research is conducted in order to vindicate its hypothesis. It can be suggested that knowledge contributes to form a social cycle and we are dominated by the knowledge held by members of the ruling class and authority.

In the scientific form, Lyotard argues that scientific knowledge is considered to be hegemonic and dominates other forms of knowledge, as science is based on evidence to prove that whether a certain assumption is true or false. He also highlights that scientists could criticise narratives for developing mentalities among human beings which consists of stereotypes, thus creates prejudice and discrimination (Lyotard 1984: 27). His quote: “A person does not have to know how to be what knowledge say he is” defines that our personalities or actions does not have to be dictated by the stereotypes of our social characteristics. This quote applies to the topic, aesthetics where an old fashion wisdom which addresses  low self-esteem: “It does not matter on what you are on the outside, but it’s the inside that counts” or “beauty is only skin deep rather than outer perfection”.

In sections 8, The narrative of function and the legitimation of knowledge, Lyotard argues that legitimation is itself an issue rather than the language game of science where rules are constantly changing and people have difficulties of obeying the rules. For example, it can be argued this chapter reveals debates on how we should behave or develop a  personality which suitable to the new rules. It can be suggested that those are in power can define what is normal or abnormal, in regards of values, personality traits and our ways of looking at social changes. Doland and Maschler (1969 cited in Lyotard 1984: 30) argued that legitimation is considered as a contract among the legislators and social progress is seen as the outcome of the rich and those are in the position of authority that created these so-called “social norms”.

In chapter 9, The narratives of the legitimation of knowledge, Lyotard argues that everyone has the right to have access to science and knowledge regardless of race, gender, religion, social class etc. It can be suggested that the last sentence gives some readers the impression that he (Lyotard) has liberal views and believes in equality. He argues that laws serve the interest of the rich and powerful and the legitimators such as the government and citizens are passive and have no choice but to follow the rules which are set by the state. In the section 10, Delegitimation, Lyotard argues that narrative knowledge has been rejected and the launch of technology was seen as the aftermath of the Second World War which motivated academic writers to concentrate on the means rather than actions caused by human individuals and the state. He also argues that issues within the private sphere were ignored, particularly within the home, such as child abuse and domestic violence and themes of workplace bullying and institutional racism and sexism.

In the section 11, Education and its legitimation through performativity, Lyotard argues that higher education is seen as the best ingredient to improve social progress and perfomativity of the social hierarchy as higher education provides individuals the tools to meet the criteria held in society and the ability to preserve social bonds. He also discusses that technology and media communications such as the internet, email facilities are replacing traditional teaching systems and data banks as they are considered as the “encyclopedia of tomorrow”. However, he argues that if education provides the reproduction of skills among social progress, then it follows into the transmission of knowledge. Marxist writers can argue that education can cause inequalities among social classes as those from upper class backgrounds can enter higher education whereas their low – class counterparts cannot.

In chapter 12, Postmodern science as the search for instabilities, Lyotard notes that theories emphasises the creation of new moves and new rules for the language game. For example, scientific knowledge is now looking for answers and the hypothesis are now dominated by actions and means of the individual and in society. He highlights Brillouin’s argument in which he concludes that there is conflict between the addressee and sender and people begin to rebel against society’s expectations (Lyotard 1984: 55). Lyotard mentions that some social systems have boundaries including social norms that modify which behaviour is considered normal or deviant (Lyotard 1984: 59).  In the final chapter, Legitimation by Paralogy, Lyotard analyses two of Luhmann’s argument on systems theory: The first one illustrates that the system can only function by reducing complexity. For clarity, individuals will be able to function in society if certain barriers which prevent them from achieving the shared cultured goal such as the American Dream or their personal goals are removed. In obvious sense,the removal of discrimination on race, social class, gender, sexual orientation and poverty through charity organisations and anti – discriminatory policies.

The second argument displays that the system should be adjusted to meet the aspirations of the players’ personal expectations rather than the aspirations that supported by the expectations held by the ruling class and those held in mainstream society (Luhmann 1969 cited in Lyotard 1984: 61). Lyotard also argues that performativity criterion has its own advantages where stories are rejected and replaced by definitions of real meaning and players of the game should take responsibility for the statements they propose and more importantly,  the rules of those statements (Lyotard 1984: 62). He also highlights what Luhmann describes terrorist behaviour in the social system and in the language game. He argues that anyone who has a high level of knowledge may be considered as a threat to the other players of the game and as a result, insecurities will rise among the players which converts into jealously as the motivate take certain measures to degrade or  eliminate that player out of game mainly through bullying (Lyotard 1984: 63 – 4).

Some writers feel that Jean Francois Lyotard’s book is considered to be a stepping stone in shifting from modernity to postmodernity, or a “self-help” guide for the audience to understand postmodernism. However, he (Lyotard) has been subject to many controversial debates both negative and positive. Alex Callinicos criticised Lyotard’s definition of postmodern for lacking in clarification which causes conflict among many writers. He (Callinicos) also argues that Lyotard’s book the postmodern condition rejects the objectivity of socialist revolutions (Callinicos 1989: 3). He also illustrated that Lyotard’s discussion of metanarratives which is an individual form of knowledge in pre-modern societies, such as folk tales which Lyotard argues that they consist of experiences which are characterised by self – legitimation, meaning that narrators can make their own rules of the game (Callinicos 1989: 93).

Zygmunt Bauman however argues that Lyotard describes postmodernism in the notion of hegemony which is argued that science tend to dominate all forms of knowledge and rules in the language game (Bauman 1992: 35). He (Bauman) also discussed that Lyotard also presented that hegemony is starting to erode in its power, is beginning to effect the disintegration of science (Bauman 1992: 35). He (Bauman) also mentions that language games are the outcomes of the separation of the communicative field from the structure of economics and politics and additionally, the breakdown of hierarchical functions within the social system. Language games are also burdened by other means not only legitimation, which of course is the main issue but the act of terror where rules are easily broken because people are rebelling against the traditional rules which conformed by the social norm by setting their own form of rules (Bauman 1992: 38).

Foucault on the other hand, from his book Discipline and Punish (Valier 2003: 152) highlighted that knowledge and power are related and cannot be separated as these two notions are viewed in which Lyotard could explain as the best form of teamwork to resist the two infections of “fear” and “terror”, and aid social progress and self change which can be applied to weight loss by arguing there is no diet without exercise and there is no exercise without diet, highlighting the antidote of self-discipline. Valier (2003: 152 – 3) on the other hand, argues that knowledge and power are exploited for other means such as punishment particularly corporal and capital which is supported by the journal entitled: Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism.c1900 – 50, is an example on the exploitation of knowlegde and power for other means and uses Lyotards explanation of the metaphor “terror” is used on the assembly line of the Ford Motor Factory. It was revealed that since the early 1920s the Ford foreman had to adapt to the language learnt in that environment by displaying an aggressive and harsh attitude towards his workers in order to enhance the performance in the production line.

Williams, Haslam and Williams (1993 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112) and Cruden (1926 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112) argued that the workers were subjected to verbal abuse, incremented by the use of coercion, physical threats and intimidation. Foucault defines this term of auto labour as dressage where the workers were seen as slaves to the foremen, who uses gestures and fear to intimidate the workers with the intention to aid progression in the modes of production (Foucault 1997 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112). This example of the brutal treatment of the assembly workers illustrates that power and knowledge are exploited for the company’s own purpose additionally, reveals the issue of hegemony, in terms of the foreman have full authority over the assembly workers.

Paul Terry illustrates that  Jurgen Habermas explores the notion of knowledge in three fields, analytical, hermeneutic and critical in opposition to the Kantian spheres of science, aesthetics and morality (Terry 1997: 270). He (Terry) also argue that these models Habermas highlighted relates to human interests in a unique way, for example, observation can be more effective through the applications of science and technology which lies beneath analytical knowledge and historical and cultural interests are concentrated on hermeneutically – derived knowledge. He also argues that those three concepts of knowledge can be applied in natural sciences or mathematics beneath the analytical – empirical sphere and hermeneutics can be related to humanities and critical knowledge can be applied in the interests of emancipation from authority (Habermas 1971 cited in Terry 1997: 271). He argues that Habermas sees the duplication of the social realm as a struggle between economics, administration and bureaucracy and sees that language game can be seen as a tool to achieve the means of attaining a balanced and reasonable agreement, seeing neutrality as the key to aid conflicts (Terry 1997: 273). He also mentions that Habermas views modernity as a democratic society and as an unfinished project. Nevertheless, he (Habermas) sees postmodernity being obsessed with power and legitimacy. Habermas’s work has been later criticised for being over – theoretical in the mention applications and believes practical is needed to vindicate these assumptions. (Terry 1997: 274).

Education was considered in many perspectives as a key to improve social reproduction and to maintain cultural perspectives. Offe (1984 cited in Terry 2010: 275) argues that higher education is inevitable in increasing our degree of knowledge and levels of empathizing power in political and economic views. Terry, on the other hand suggests that educators must adapt to inevitable changes in culture (Terry 2010: 275). Anthony Giddens who is renowned for this major theories systems of ideas – the structural theory which was initiated in 1984, which concentrates on social customs that revolves around space and time, and is essential for social systems and social acts performed by human beings and the late modernity theory which concentrate on the conditions of social world that constantly changes and argues from a postmodern view, that modernity is abolished by social and cultural order (Faulkheimer 2007: 288 – 9). It is suggested that  Lyotard’s method, the language game can be used to adapt to the new form of social and cultural orders. Faulkheimer (2007: 289) believes that scientific reason causes the risk society. It can be suggested that risk minimization in criminal justice systems stems from that assumption. He (Giddens) highlighted that risk diverse in two ways: external risk which associates with nature causes such as floods and earthquakes and the second risk associates with manufactured risks in terms of global warming, risks which associate with our everyday lives, such as transportation and communication technology (Giddens 2002 cited in Faulkheimer 2007: 289).

Barbara Ann Strassberg argues from her journal Religion and Science: The Embodiment of the Conversation: A Postmodern Sociological Perspective, that knowledge comes in two ways.  Faith, which does not need to be vindicated by scientific investigation through experimentation and belief needs to be backed up by scientific proof (2001:525). This statement can be criticised for ignoring that faith and science are connected and cannot be separated, which can reflect Foucault’s link of Power and Knowledge by arguing that “there is not faith without science and there is no faith without science”. Max Weber and other Weberian writers argues that religion highlights the notion of Karma where Lyotard explains this in the first chapter where we donate our levels of knowledge to those who are unfortunate or exchange for new and revised levels of knowledge. Karma has been applied in moral guidelines where for example, if we treat strangers or  fellow neighbours good or bad, we will be given the same action in return.

However, the theme on religion can be exploited through the example mentioned in Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism, which can be used to explain that religious leaders could exploit religion for their own interests, manifested from carrying out fraud and deception to subjecting people to psychological manipulation and abuse particularly, child abuse which manifests in religious cults, religious subcultures and religious organizations. Marxist thinkers can criticise that religion symbolises dominance of the ruling class over the lower class. Some writers could argue that religion symbolises “perfectionism”  or “perfectionist behaviour” through injecting the fear of God into our minds that he will punish us if we are engage in sinful acts and violate the biblical rules from the bible.

The quote Lyotard mentions about personalities and behaviour among individuals does not have to be determined by what knowledge and stereotypes say about them is similar to the subject of psychology where, psychodynamic theorist like Sigmund Freud could argue that past experiences determines our future actions and behaviour whereas in opposition, humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers argue that human beings have free will to have control of their behaviour and taking responsibility for their happiness and what they want to achieve in life by displaying a hierarchy of needs triangle. They could also argue our identities can be determined by social influences especially, within our social and cultural surroundings. In opposition, in the subject of criminology, classical thinkers like Ceasre Beccaria and Jeremy Betham may argue that individuals engage in criminality out of free will rather than external negative influences in which positivists criminologist like Andre Guerry and Adolphe Quetelet may argue along with the Chicago Scholars, Strain Theorists and Labelling Theorists.

The graph from the home office downloaded from the  home office  website(http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/s95race02) illustrates the over-representation of black offenders . These were drawn upon the narratives of stereotypes which can be agreed with Lyotard who explains this in chapter 6. Black young men people are stereotyped as deviant, aggressive and  ‘trouble makers’ or academic “underachievers” by educational institutions. About the relationship of race and postmodernity, Brett St Louis applies the concept of  Foucault’s theme of power/knowledge onto the notions about race where he highlights that Stuart Hall suggests a new emergence of a new ethnicity where black people are oppressed by the knowledge and negative stereotypical perceptions held by the minds of the hegemonic white society (1992 cited in St Louis 2009: 656). He (St Louis) also argues ethnicity is manufactured socially where race was considered to be biological (2009: 659) which can be agreed with Alain Locke who argues that the biological meaning of race has been ended and the sociological meaning of race is starting to expand (1992 cited in St Louis 2009: 665) in areas of culture and socio economical backgrounds.

This essay provides many definitions of postmodernism from different writers and is criticized for neglecting concerns that centres on the topic of technology. However, from the works discussed by renowned writers and examples used, this article vindicates with Jean Francois Lyotard’s hypothesis that we do live in a network society where information is decoded into data and delivered by various formats, such as communications, technology and the media.  We live in a world that is constantly changing and highlights the importance of the language game as it the vital tool that help us to adapt to changes made in society and it is applied in many areas of the social world from technology, science to race, class and gender.

Bauman, Z (1992) Intimations of Postmodernity, London, Routledge

Brillouin, L. (1949). Life, thermodynamics, and cybernetics. American Scientist, 37

Callinicos, A (1989) Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Coopey, R and McKinlay, A (2010) Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism, c.1900 – 50, Labor History, Vol 51, No1 107 – 125

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