Senior Capstone Seminar II
Juan Jose Gutierrez
SOCIAL & BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Carla L Becerra
California State University Monterey Bay
SBS 300: SBS Major Pro Seminar: Theory
Connell, R. (2006). Northern Theory: The Political Geography of General Social Theory. Theory and Society, 35(2), 237-264.  pp.
In the article “The political Geography of General Social Theory” By Raewyn Connell he states that different points of views between Coleman and his “Foundations of social theory” Bourdieu “logic of Practice” and Gidden’s “Constitution of society.” The remarkable effects of the pre-modern, modern, and post modern eras in the different societies in the north and the south and in the West. More over, the application of theory to the social issues, and the result in “the clamming of the universality, reading from the center, gestures of exclusion, and grand erasure (p.237).” Coleman’s created a reflection of a person and the interaction with society studying the Europeans and North Americans social experiences. Consequently, Coleman’s develop a theoretical strategy in where he sees any experiences different from that of his own society except through a residual idea of the primitive. As a result, Coleman’s understands the market society as the universal claim about social system and process. On the other hand, Giddens’s and his theory of “Constitution of Society” state that the construction of the humanity history experiences as a different forms of societies, also claim that the modernity brought a huge change in to the society. Consequently, Giddens’s mentioned the reformation of the societies, which start in the colonialism and empire in Europe.
For example, the tribal society; class-divided society (roughly with cities but without factories), and class society, or capitalism now globalization in the West (p. 249). Meanwhile, Bourdieu’s and the “Logic of Practice” he studied the different society periods and methodologically homogeneous. Therefore, Bourdieu’s develops a strategy to understand the society in different dimensions of social life. As a result, Bourdieu’s understands the way in which the societies reproduce in the terms of schemata that construct dichotomies but not dynamics (p. 258). Consequently, Bourdieu’s project has cultural, political, and philosophical importance because he found the distinction between the modern and pre modern society. In conclusion, the three different theories claim the universal relevance Coleman’s with the study of the social system, Giddens with the objective knowledge and Bourdieu’s with the social reproduction agent. However, the three theories are really important for the contribution to the societies understanding. In addition, the relevance of these theories is the time periods, places, and ethnography that the authors analyzed to addressed the metro-pole society problems.
E. Smith, D. (1992). Sociology from Women's Experience: A Reaffirmation. Sociological Theory, 10(1), 88-98.  pp.
In the article “Sociology from Women’s Experience: A Reaffirmation” by Dorothy Smith starts by defining the idea as “What one knows is affected by where one stands (one’s position) in society.” Smith argued that the only way that we can see the world around us is through one lens and that is out standpoint. She breaks this theory’s definition down into three parts: there is no objective knowledge, no to two people have the same exact view, and we should not take our personal standpoint for granted. Smith convinced standpoint theory due to her personal experiences in sociology as the discipline was created by white-middle males, who only saw their own relevance in society. She states that their failure to realize that they were creating a masculine discipline the field bias as it excluded women and their standpoints. Further in the article, it talks about the feminist standpoint and masculine in sociology.
The author states that a masculine point of view, there is a fixed of expectation that any of the two genders trying to demonstrate it are expected to fit into. This includes how the society perceives them or is expected to perceive them even before their arrival. For instance, men are expected to dominate over women in some cultures and to protect their wives plus to provide for them. Thus when a boy is born he lives trying to reach these expectations that are set out for him. This is contradictory to the feminist standpoint that works to shake off the pre-existing social order. Feminist standpoint theory, which borrows a lot of from Hegel’s theories, postulates that those in marginalized in social or political power relations, will rise to challenge the social order within they find themselves.
The sociologist and feminist Dorothy Smith makes great points in the concepts of the standpoint. But, she fails to answer the oppressed male societies who go through struggle to be named by women equal with their other male strong characters. While men are frowned upon when they portray female characteristics having a list of endless abuses to such, women who behave like men are adored. Pointing the problem is not enough, the gap between and male and female gender is much perpetuated by perceptions which each of us have to come against.
Farmer, P. (2004). An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology, 45(3), 305-325.  pp.
In the article “An Anthropology of Structural Violence” by Paul Farmer, it explains and examines AIDS and tuberculosis in rural Haiti in relation to the social and economic structures in which they are embedded. A syncretic and biosocial anthropology shows how inequality and poverty create differential risk for infection and for adverse outcomes including death.
Representation on the work of Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, Farmer calls attention to powerful forms of everyday violence, like poverty, hunger, and poor health, that can be just as deadly as the violence of bullets and war but that tends to be caused by social forces, political and economic institutions, and the decisions of policymakers. In the paradigmatic example Farmer uses to explain structural violence, he shows how the root causes of a Haitian contracting HIV/AIDS are to be found not in personal irresponsibility but in the displacement of a village by a dam planned and funded by powerful actors in Washington, D.C.; by the impoverishment the dam created; and by the long-term impoverishment of Haiti through centuries of subjugation at the hands of the United States and European powers dating to the days of slavery.
The article was highly informative in understanding that the distribution of AIDS and tuberculosis like that of slavery in earlier times is ‘historically given and economically driven’. Social inequalities are at the heart of structural violence. Racism, gender inequality, and extreme poverty in the face of wealth are linked to social plans and programs ranging from slavery to the current quest for uncontrolled growth.
Holmes, S. (2013). Fresh fruit, broken bodies: Migrant farmworkers in the United States (Vol. 27). Univ of California Press. 4-234  pp.
The the book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies by Seth Holmes is based on one of the most marginalized indigenous groups from Oaxaca, Mexico. The study is about the “Triqui” community from the town of San Miguel, Oaxaca. The Triqui community from San Miguel immigrates to Unites States due to economy and political situation in their town in Oaxaca. This indigenous community, take the risk to cross one of the most dangerous borders between Mexico and United States. According with, Holmes this immigration or as he calls “modern problem” started with the North Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which reduced financial supports for corn producers or indigenous farmer workers like the Triqui community. These budget cuts force the Triqui community from south Mexico to immigrate and to risk their lives in the border. So they can, work in the fields in Washington and California harvesting the fresh fruit that we buy in our grocery stores.
The author Holmes applies the theory of symbolic violence while telling the stories of the indigenous Mexican immigrants laborers who are largely hidden from public in the United States. Holmes point that, the Triqui community leave their town and to immigrate to Unites States, where certain classes of people become deemed less human (Structural violence). As a result, Holmes decided to study the Triqui community and to write about his experiences by doing an intimate field work to live the experience of been a Triqui-farmer worker (body experiences as a field notes). Holmes collected all these field notes by working side by side with the Triqui community in Washington picking strawberries, also by living with then in the camp, and by visiting San Miguel, Oaxaca the Triqui hometown.
Even though, Holmes felt that was out of place, because his white privilege, he took a neutral position when racism and unfairness occurred (social categories in bodies). As an example, Holmes point that “the working and living conditions, degree of respect received, and access to political power of each of the groups within the labor hierarchy lead to different forms of suffering from top to bottom labor structure (how the poor suffer). Consequently, a focus on the embodiment of different expressions of violence lends clarity to the reciprocal importance of social forces to bodily suffering,” place in our society’s power structure (p.95). As a mentioned before, Holmes used Bourgois theorist to explain the “social issue as structural violence that is manifested as social inequalities and hierarchies, often along social categories of class, race gender and sexuality.” According with Holmes this theory is reflected in the Triqui community everywhere that they go.
In conclusion, the remarkable ethnography study that the Holmes realized, about the Triqui community and the application of Bourdie theorist about the effects of symbolic domination whether the ethnic, gender, cultural or linguistic, nationality, race, position in the hierarchy in our society. The study of the daily life of the Triqui community, shows a more extend understanding of the Mexican migrants the body’s experiences of the farmer works in this complex society.
Maclure, R., & Denov, M. (2006). “I didn't want to die so I joined them”: Structuration and the process of becoming boy soldiers in Sierra Leone. Terrorism and Political Violence, 18(1), 119-135.  pp.
In the article Structuration and the process of becoming boy soldier in Sierra Leone by Maclure and Denov explain structuration theory that theorizes the interconnectedness of structure and activity; Maclure and Denov examine how boys were transformed into armed and organized combatants in the Sierra Leone’s recent civil war. From a series of interviews with cohort of boys who fought with the rebel Revolutionary United Front, Maclure and Denov map out their experiences and perspectives in a way that highlights the collocation of insightful social forces and the capacity for personal activity that caused the process of becoming child soldiers.
The study performed by Maclure and Denov was an analysis of boy soldiers in Sierra Leone that is part of a larger qualitative research project examining the life histories and circumstances of both boys’ and girls’ involvement in Sierra Leone’s civil war, and the implications of their wartime experiences on their consequent needs and their capacity to adjust to the current post conflict situation. Given the gender difference of roles and experiences, both in the framework of armed conflict and in more stable social contexts, Maclure and Denov examine the oral accounts of male and female child soldiers separately. Maclure and Denov concluded by reflecting in the challenges of rehabilitating and reintegrating former child soldiers in the underprivileged circumstances of post-war Sierra Leone.
This article was interesting to read since it focused on a major incident that let me speechless as I kept reading article. What I got from the article was that there is huge problem when literature portrays girls only as victims of sexual violence. It is part of a misperception that girls are not “real” child soldiers. This is a dangerous point of view, due to multiple factors such as not including girl soldiers as children who have been exploited during the war. Consequently, they will not enjoy about the policies that will be developed to overcome the experience that have suffered during the war.
Moon-Kie, J. (2004). Symbolic and Physical Violence. Legitimate State Coercion of Filipino Workers in Prewar Hawai'i, 45(3), 107-137.  pp.
In the article, “Symbolic and Physical Violence: Legitimate State Coercion of Filipino Workers in Prewar Hawai’i” by Jung Moon-Kie it talks about a tragic incident that broke out between the Filipino protestor's and the Kauai authorities called the Hanapepe massacre that occurred on September 9, 1924 in Kauai Hawaii. The authorities with hunting rifles fired repeatedly into the massive protectors, killing sixteen, and wounding other. Four policemen were killed. One hundred and sixty-one protestors were rounded up and put in jail. Seventy-six Filipinos were indicted for rebelling; and fifty-seven others pled guilty to charges of assault and battery. No one knows who made the first move in the incident that became known as the Hanapepe Massacre.
Jung is questioning whether or not symbolic violence is linked to physical violence through definition as well whether it establishes state control as per Pierre Bourdieu (108-114). He cites Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence to discuss its use by the state and how it is conceived, while using W.E.B Du Bois’ “notion of double consciousness” (108) as an anecdote in attempt to explain his theory to re conceptualize Bourdieu’s concept or definition of symbolic violence. Jung chronicles a workers strike by Filipino sugar plantation workers in Hawaii during the 1920s to show how symbolic violence was used by the authorities and plantations to check the strikers, and that symbolic violence was used by the dominant group who in fact didn’t have an awareness of what the author refers to as toxic asymmetry; but in reality showed Du bois’ theory of double awareness to come into play on the side of the Filipino strikers. As the dominated group, Filipinos were aware of how they were apparent by the dominant group and therefore shot down the model of order as Bourdieu perceived it (110-114). The Filipinos organized a strike out of concern for wages and time compensation (116). They were also being aware of the volatile nature of a strike and took precautions as to not arouse the dominant group (116-119) which displayed Du Bois’ claim of a double consciousness among those who were being dominated.
The article was sad to read due to the violence. Overall, I have to argue that Bourdieu’s approach to social change thru denaturalizing the status quo is both powerful and useful. Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence stored in the habitus is a helpful way in which to understand people’s acceptance of their own domination. My personal comment within the article focused on police physical violence and brutality and which is an extreme case of power that is increased negatively. It should halt and be demolished for the sake of individual’s protection. Police abusers differ from civilian abusers only in that they have the advantages of their training, their badge, their gun, and the weight of their tight-knit culture behind them. This distinction makes their criminal behavior more egregious in that it is a misuse of official power and privilege. It is important to be mindful of police abuse because it can have a long term emotional distress can wreak havoc on lives that went through it.
Salerno, R. A. (2004). Beyond the enlightenment: Lives and thoughts of social theorists. Greenwood Publishing Group. 1-242  pp.
In Lives and thoughts of social theorists by Roger Salerno is a combining biographical and historical ideas, this book looks at the intersection between the theorist as a social actor and a reflection of his or her own time. It also examines the impact of post-Enlightenment thinking on today’s issues and how they have shaped twentieth-century thought. It identifies the important intellectual movements, categories, and paradigms that have occurred in the study of social theory. It also looks at issues closely related to contemporary social theory, such as: the postmodern condition, globalization, post colonialism, inequality, gender, race, and human sexuality.
The book is written to introduce social theory to a broad audience in the hope that people will come to understand. It distinguishes itself from many other perspectives (such as social philosophy or sociological theory) by its willingness to both critical and factual and often combines these two approaches. Yet, its aim is to explore and explain society and culture. Even though social theory seems by its very nature to be abstract and complex; this book is not so much a traditional introduction to theory as it is a preface to those ideas that underline some of the most important theories of our time. The breadth of this title makes it a useful tool to all those interested in sociology and its many great minds, from nineteenth-century thinkers such as Hegel and Marx, to the post-modernists.
In my perspective, the book was very appealing and interesting. I was able to explore how contemporary social theory relates to their everyday lives, identify important intellectual movements, categories, and paradigms, of the study of social theory, as well as understand how social and intellectual challenges have resulted in new theories. Readers will be motivated to delve into the deeper pool of knowledge available on major social theorists and their groundbreaking ideas.
Tagg, J. (2003). The Learners, Self-Theories and Academic Motivation. The Learning Paradigm College. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, pp. (40-59).  pp.
In the article “The Learners, Self-Theories and Academic Motivation”, by John Tagg talks about students coming to college with expectations based upon their schooling; statistics suggest many are “physically present but psychologically absent,” and spend minimal time studying. These experiences tend to ‘insulate’ students against learning. Students value the benefit of school, as a means to an end (high-paying career). Students are naïve to the value of learning. Essential motivation can be minimal and still see success in high school. The expectation may be participation and dedication to extracurricular activities. Furthermore, students adopt one of two kinds of achievement goals: performance goals or learning goals. Both can be active for the same task; both can be motivating. Former schooling shapes expectations that learning involves performance goals. A student’s tendency to get learning goals vs performance goals is tied to their perception of self-ability. Entity Theory inflects intelligence and ability is essentially fixed and unchangeable in an individual. Incremental Theory reflects intelligence and ability are changeable and subject to manipulation, addition, and subtraction. The identity with either theory affects how a student receives information.
An entity theorist has no interest in feedback, for an assignment that has no grade, only suggestions for revision, “this version doesn’t really count.” The value of learning is important. Students do differ in native abilities. Our potential is shaped by environmental factors for example, the behavior of our caregivers influence our physical and psychological development before and after birth. Growing and learning is what we do and realize the possibilities. Not everything is possible, but much is, Tagg states. We can accomplish by believing. College achievement is meaningful for personal goals and in many ways.
In my perspective, I found this reading very interesting. It made me think of myself and made me wonder what type of student I was. Looking back to my years in high school, I can relate to the students Tagg describes as those who became aloof and distant during class but still wanted good grades. Although I was an incremental theorist, I had performance goals which hindered my growth as a student and my learning.
Wallerstein, I. (2003). Anthropology, Sociology, And Other Dubious Disciplines. Current Anthropology, 44(4), 453-465.  pp.
In the article “Anthropology, Sociology, And Other Dubious Disciplines” the author Immanuel Wallerstein is describing how the separation of sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines is no longer effective. Just as the world changes, so should how we view and approach these fields of study. The disciplines are three things: intellectual categories, institutional structures, and cultures. These disciplines have hinged around three different axes: the past versus the present, the West and the rest, and the structure of the nomothetic western present around the progressive differentiation of civil society, the state, and the market. As the world has changed, so have the disciplines’ need for interactions with each other. They are no longer hinged around these three specific axes. Although they are organizations with their own territories, uncertainty within the individual social sciences’ application in society (because social sciences search for structural continuities within a world that is continuously changing) and increasingly visual intellectual abnormalities have created a need for the disciplines to dismantle the barriers between them. Despite this seeming need to disassemble the barriers, there are those who continue defend the turf (which is mostly generational) and those who cannot lightly dismantle these barriers (administrators).
His reading was very dense and hard to read, but after re-reading it a few times I started to understand Wallerstein’s point of view. Even though in history the social sciences have been strictly segregated, as the world changed; so has the social sciences’ interaction with each other. More and more things are overlapping, and it would seem logical to forge these disciplines into one, something that CSUMB seems to have been trying to do with the Social and Behavioral Sciences major.
Yosso *, Tara J. "Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth.” Race Ethnicity and Education 8.No. 1 (2005): 69-91.  pp.
In the article, “Whose Culture has Capital?”, the author Tara Yosso intellectualizes community cultural wealth as a critical race theory (CRT) challenge to traditional explanations of cultural capital as well as describes critical race theory as a framework that can be used to theorize, examine, and change the ways race and racism affect social structures, practices, and discourses. Community cultural wealth as defined in the article is an array of knowledge, skills, abilities, and contacts influenced and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist macro and micro-forms of harassment.
Yosso begins her ideas by discussing the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), and his idea of cultural wealth to explain why minority students do not excel as frequently as White students. According to Bourdieu, students obtain capital through cultural means (i.e. language, education), economic means (i.e. finances, assets), or social means (i.e. “who you know”), and such capital is received from one’s formal education or through their family connection (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977). However, she takes issue with Bourdieu’s position which openly presents the White, middle-class culture as the standard by which to judge others cultural wealth and value.
I found Yosso’s article to be interesting and informative not only because I agree with many of her positions of cultural wealth and the powerful role it can play for individuals in education, but also because her research opened my eyes to new ideas for my own research agenda. The approach to her research showed that it was alright to go against grain and not be afraid of the status quo. She was able to show the strides that were made in research before her time on the topic of culture capital, but also highlighted the need for research and position on cultural wealth to evolve.