INSTRUCTIONS: ***You will be answering questions 1a and 1b apart from 5a and 5b. Questions 1a and 1b need to be answered together in a total of 400 words. Then you will answer 5a and 5b with a total of 400 words.***
(a) “critical overview” discussion questions should be a minimum 300 words, and should address the question. An analysis of a quote presented for (b) “textual analysis” questions should focus on analyzing this text and its significance. This should be at least 100 words. (Alternatively, for questions (b), students may select a different quote, if you find it is central to the point the theorist is making in this reading).
***It is required you use the textbook ‘Social Theory Re-wired’ by Wesley Longhofer. I have provided the link below. Use the textbook to refer to the questions and to help you answer the questions***
a) Consider why Wallerstein thinks its important to anayze globalization in historical stages. What happens in the periphery and semi-periphery of a world system for “core” countries to develop? To help your explanation, consider an example, identifying the role of a country in the world system, such as by a manufacturing label of a commodity you use daily (such as your sneakers, phone, coffee).
1b) “Once we get a difference in the strength of state–machineries, we get the operation of ‘unequal exchange’ which is enforced by strong states on weak ones, by core states on peripheral areas. Thus, capitalism is involved not only the appropriation of the surplus-value by an owner from a laborer, but an appropriation of surplus of the whole world-economy by core areas” (Wallerstein p.162).
5a) Foucault argues in the conclusion of our reading that “discipline” is not just about control, and that the disciplinary society works by producing new kinds of knowledge. He cites the rise of psychiatry and clinical medicine as examples. In an online society as our own, it is easy to spot the effects of surveillance, from the watchful eye of the National Security Agency (NSA) to make us “careful” of the most common behavior, to Facebook sending seductive ads to match their tracking our credit card spending habits. Can you think of other examples of how our society disciplines us by producing new forms of knowledge? What Would Foucault Say?
5b) “our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance […] on the whole, therefore, one can speak of the formation of a disciplinary society in this movement that stretches….to an indefinitely generalizable mechanism of ‘panopticism.’…because it has infiltrated the others…making it possible to bring the effects of power to the most minute and distant elements” (Foucault, p. 324)
In this academic discussion, we will explore two critical aspects of social theory discussed by Wallerstein and Foucault. Firstly, we will analyze Wallerstein’s perspective on globalization in historical stages and the impact of core countries on the periphery and semi-periphery. Secondly, we will delve into Foucault’s ideas on disciplinary society and its relationship with the production of new knowledge.
Wallerstein’s perspective on globalization emphasizes the importance of analyzing it in historical stages. According to him, understanding globalization requires examining how core countries develop at the expense of the periphery and semi-periphery. To illustrate this, let’s consider a practical example related to a commodity we use daily – coffee.
Coffee is a globally traded commodity. Historically, coffee-producing countries in the periphery and semi-periphery have often been exploited by core countries. Core countries, with their economic and political power, have enforced unequal exchange, extracting surplus value from coffee-producing regions. This has led to economic disparities, as core countries benefit while coffee-producing nations struggle with low prices for their products.
Analyzing globalization in historical stages reveals that core countries have historically dominated the coffee trade. They control the distribution networks, set prices, and accumulate wealth. This mirrors Wallerstein’s argument that core countries’ development is intricately linked to the exploitation of peripheral and semi-peripheral regions in the world system.
Wallerstein’s assertion about unequal exchange is exemplified in the quote provided. He argues that capitalism not only involves the appropriation of surplus value within a country but also the appropriation of the world economy’s surplus by core areas. This unequal exchange is enforced by strong core states on weaker peripheral areas.
The quote highlights the global dimension of exploitation within the capitalist system. It implies that core countries, with their strong state apparatus, have the power to extract surplus from peripheral regions, reinforcing global economic disparities. This concept of unequal exchange underscores the significance of analyzing globalization in historical stages to comprehend the dynamics of core-periphery relations.
Moving on to Foucault’s ideas, he argues that discipline in society is not solely about control but also involves the production of new knowledge. He cites the rise of psychiatry and clinical medicine as examples of disciplines that produce knowledge. In today’s online society, we can identify other instances of discipline through the generation of knowledge.
One prominent example is the surveillance and data collection practices of entities like the National Security Agency (NSA) and social media platforms like Facebook. The NSA’s monitoring of digital communications creates a sense of “carefulness” among individuals, influencing their behavior and speech. Meanwhile, platforms like Facebook use data analytics to tailor advertisements to users based on their spending habits, thus disciplining consumer behavior.
Furthermore, the proliferation of online reviews and ratings has given rise to the concept of the “reputation economy.” Individuals are disciplined into maintaining a positive online reputation, affecting their behavior and interactions.
Foucault would likely argue that in our digital age, disciplinary mechanisms have expanded, making the production of knowledge more pervasive and influential in shaping societal norms and behaviors.
Foucault’s quote discusses the concept of the panoptic society, where surveillance and discipline permeate every aspect of life. This idea becomes particularly relevant in our contemporary digital landscape.
In the digital age, surveillance mechanisms are omnipresent, from government agencies like the NSA to tech companies tracking our online activities. The concept of “panopticism” is exemplified as surveillance infiltrates various spheres, allowing those in power to exert control even over the most minute aspects of individuals’ lives.
Foucault’s insight into the panoptic society helps us understand how surveillance technologies have evolved to encompass not only physical spaces but also digital realms, enabling unprecedented levels of control and discipline.
In conclusion, this discussion has analyzed Wallerstein’s views on globalization and core-periphery relations, as well as Foucault’s perspective on disciplinary society and surveillance in the digital age. Both theorists offer valuable insights into the dynamics of contemporary society, highlighting the importance of historical analysis and the production of knowledge in understanding social structures and power dynamics.