Sociology 370 - Tocqueville Pessimistic

Sociology 370 - Tocqueville Pessimistic - Tocqueville: Why...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–5. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Tocqueville: Why Democracy Might Be a Disaster, and Why it Might Be Wonderful First sessions: Why disaster Second set of sessions: why wonderful
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
T’s way of thinking illustrates a central theme of the course: “Everything is an argument” (in decision- making about society, at least). AT the end of the semester, you won’t walk away with ONE definition of “civic engagement” or “politics.” Rather, you will learn the argument that swirl around these terms, and gain fluency in finding your own (possibly changing) ideas in the arguments
Background image of page 2
some very brief preliminary definition of terms (which have been the topics of fierce argument) 1. “the government”--a system of organizing political and military power (also called “the state”) For example, two types of “government:” “Monarchy” vs. “Democracy” 2. “the economy”--a system of distributing goods and services For example, three types of “economic” systems Feudalism: Aristocrats control land and other means of production. They extract labor from peasants, in an unequal relationship that continues for generations vs. “capitalism (also called “free enterprise”): Individuals privately control factories and other means of production. The people at the top employ other individuals (at a profit to themselves) in a relationship that ends whenever the one on top wants it to end. Vs. “socialism,” a system of production in which workers control production by making decisions together about how to produce, what to produce, how much, what hours, etc. The goal is to bring “democratic” decision-making to the workplace, so “political” and “economic” combine 3. “the civic sphere”--the parts of shared community life that are not mostly controlled by $ or political power.
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
(democracy among equals) is a good goal The big worry for the section on Tocqueville -->Self-rule works only if The People are decent (not cruel or stupid) -->Whatever “human nature” might be, societies teach people to be kind or cruel, tyrannical or democratic---> -->Life in a democratic society teaches people democratic “habits of the heart” through local governance associations, the press, equality, and competition, all in balance---> --> Things can go wrong in a democracy (the things we’ll explore this week), making it hard to learn those habits--> -->….making hardly anyone fit for self-rule--> -->Someone ELSE (either a dictator who rules the government or a wealthy elite who rules the economy ) will easily take over, because The People become unfit for self-rule---> -->People have fewer and fewer opportunities to learn self-rule So a vicious spiral downwards might develop. Is that the situation we’re in today? Can we reverse the spiral? How, if at all, can volunteering and/or political activism
Background image of page 4
Image of page 5
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course SOC 370 taught by Professor Nina during the Spring '10 term at USC.

Page1 / 28

Sociology 370 - Tocqueville Pessimistic - Tocqueville: Why...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 5. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online