a340-11f-101-07-ChavezIntroCh1SteckleyCh1

Part of this common sense or hegemonic culture is

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part of this “common sense” or hegemonic culture is assumptions about undocumented immigrants - the view that they are obviously transient, illegitimate, transgressive (“illegal”) - so obviously that there is no need to even think about whether or not there is any evidence to support the idea
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Anth 340.101: Living in our Globalized World F 2011 / Owen: Chavez Intro, Ch. 1, Steckley Ch. 1 p. 6 - these beliefs then allow everyone (even the immigrants themselves) to accept the abusive conditions that immigrants encounter - Anglo Americans can then accept the benefits of their labor, while feeling no guilt about their treatment - which would be unacceptable for legitimate, legal, settled residents - for two reaasons: - immigrants are assumed to contribute relatively little except their raw labor because they are transient and don’t integrate into local communities - immigrants are unworthy of decent treatment because the violated the law in crossing into the US to work for US capitalists, and because they have many other negative traits such as poor hygiene, disease, criminality, etc. - thus these beliefs serve a function: they allow everyone (Anglos, but also the immigrants themselves) to ignore the contradictions between - our ideas of fairness, compassion, and even legality - and our need for cheap, mobile, compliant labor in order to - allow capitalists to keep making profits on farm products, factory labor, etc. - allow consumers to have access to cheap food, clothing, etc. - Gramsci would argue that if this cultural hegemony were somehow removed, - everyone would see that the system was abusive - it could only be maintained by force (strict laws, police, immigration raids, etc.) - and people would resist, eventually toppling it - A hegemonic practice: othering : establishing identity by contrast to some other group - defining a category of “others” as different from the category of “us” - in order to define ourselves by what we are not - emphasizes the importance of the difference between “them” and “us” - they have a distinctly different identity from us - usually not a positive one - by contrast, emphasizes, even creates, homogeneity or solidarity within our own group, in opposition to the “other” - example: Berkeley students versus Stanford students - example: Falklands/Malvinas war between Argentina and England - 1982: Argentina was going through an economic crisis and unrest threatened to topple the military junta - Argentina landed troops on the Falkland/Malvinas Islands - also claimed by England, with British citizens living there - this started up a modern shooting war with England that lasted 74 days - both sides suffered hundreds of casualties and huge material losses - the British won - why? it stoked a wave of nationalism in both countries - with dehumanization and ridicule of the other side - created solidarity among Argentines - brought the Argentine public back to supporting the military government… until they lost - bolstered the Labor party of Margaret Thatcher, too
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Anth 340.101: Living in our Globalized World F 2011 / Owen: Chavez Intro, Ch. 1, Steckley Ch. 1
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  • Fall '11
  • Owen
  • Immigration to the United States, liminality, globalized world, − Chavez, Chavez Intro

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