Class (2)

The Problem:

– Zero-hour contracts

– Benefits

– Taxpayers funding Buckingham Palace refit

Neoliberalism:

– Promotes notions of ‘free’ market competition and ‘free’ enterprise.

Meritocracy Myth:

– Dictionary definition: government or the holding of power by people selected according to merit.

– Work hard and you shall succeed. Go to school and get good grades, go to college and get good grades, go to university and get good grades, get a good job and keep working hard in it. Always competing against yourself.

– In government, we assume that politicians are in their positions based on merit; however in reality these people were privately educated and/or know the right people.

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Gilles Deleuze – Societies of Control (1992)

‘The administration in charge never ceases announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods’ (1992: 4).

Surveillance Law – societies control us through the technologies we use, the computers, which provide passive danger through piracy, privacy and viruses.

– Surveillance as a means of control.

– The idea that we are always being watched.

– The media guides us in what we should be doing.

Benefits and Disability – Media Discourse and Representations:

‘Strathclyde University’s Centre for Disability Research and Glasgow University’s ‘Media Unit’ – investigated the ways in which newspapers reported and represented disability. They found a ‘significantly increased use of pejorative language to describe disabled people, including suggestions that life on incapacity benefits had become a “Lifestyle Choice”’ (Briant 2012: 5).’

The popular representation of those on benefits is that they are lazy, workshy and undeserving. Representations in the media create a negative perception of people receiving benefits and make those on them feel shameful for having to receive the help. This is bad for those people who genuinely need the monetary help and are genuinely unable to work.

‘Representations of disabled people can be linked to the notions of a ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor – ‘people labelled workless are ‘undeserving’ if they do not at least seek paid employment, regardless of the quality and calibre of the work available. On the other hand, the ‘deserving’ poor are those who are making an effort to find work and see this as their responsibility to society regardless of how fruitless their search might be’ (Garthwaite 2011: 370). ‘

Othering/Social Abjection:

‘In such a climate public anxieties and hostilities are channelled towards those groups within the population, such as the unemployed, welfare recipients and irregular migrants, who are imagined to be a parasitical drain and threat to national resources. I call the figurative scapegoats…“national abjects”, and they included the “bogus asylum seeker”, “the illegal immigrant”, “the chav”, “the underclass” and “the Gypsy”’ (Tyler 2013: 9).

The Underclass:

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‘Murray marks poverty and worklessness as individual choices, down to ‘attitudes and lifestyles’ rather than political wrong-doing. As well as this, Murray’s conceptions of the underclass as being criminals, violent and sexually promiscuous work to stigmatise them further; again warning the nation of their supposed anti-social behaviour.’

Poverty Porn:

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These notes (and the images) are from my year two semester one lectures and seminars.
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