Freedom and Social Control

Review for Exam One


The exam is multiple choice, maybe some matching.

The exam is worth 25 points.


What are key assumptions in the negative (liberal) and positive (democratic) conceptions of freedom?  Why label these perspectives "negative" and "positive"?  What is the dominant US ideology in relationship to the types of freedom discussed in class?  What is the basic idea behind the “social contract”?  What are the different versions of liberalism?  What is/are feature/s of the basic liberal ideology that both liberals and conservatives share?


What are the assumptions of Hayek, Locke, and Hobbes?  How do they differ?  What is Hayek’s core argument in The Constitution of Liberty, from which the essay you read for class was extracted?  Why does Hayek claim that any collective effort to secure greater material equality would compromise the principle of equality before the law and thus represent unjustified coercion?  Hayek mainly attributes inequality to what three sources?  What is social Darwinism?


What are the basic arguments in the democratic (or positive) discourse on freedom?  How do liberalism, in its standard definition, and democracy, as conceptualized by Wallerstein, Mills, and Marx, differ?  What does Wallerstein claim is the function/purpose of liberalism?  What is Hegel’s critique of liberalism?  Who is Feuerbach and what did he argue? What is alienation?  What are the different forms it takes?  What is the source of alienation in capitalist society?


What is Marx and Engels basic argument in the extract from the Communist Manifesto you read for class?  What is the bourgeoisie?  What is the proletariat?  Why are these classes locked in conflict? What is the contradiction in capitalism that makes it so unstable? Marx and Engels argue that communism deprives no person of the power to appropriate the products of society; rather it deprives persons of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation. What do they mean by this? What is exploitation? Is the United States more or less unequal now compared to the 1950s? How have property relations changed over the course of U.S. history?


According to Weber's rationalization thesis, what is distinctive to Western society and increasingly dominating the world?  What is the name Weber gives to his claim that people in Western societies have become imprisoned by rational systems of their own creation?  What did Weber mean when he describe modern bureaucratic society as an “iron cage” or a “steel casing”?  What is depersonalization?  How is disenchantment related to rationalization?  What role does the Protestant ethic play in all this?


Know the four principles of rationalization.  Ritzer acknowledges that efficiency may increase convenience for customers.  What are some of the other consequences?  What are the basic characteristics of the Holocaust according to Ritzer?  What is the phrase Weber and Ritzer use to argue that with rationalization there is a tendency for rational systems to behave unreasonably?  What does Ritzer’s mean by birth as pathology?  What is the irrationality of rationality?  What is the connection between bureaucracy, corporatism, and fascism.


From the documentary The Corporation, about how long has the corporate of business organization been around?  What advantages does a corporation give capitalists? What is limited liability?  When and how did the corporation become legally defined as a person?  According to the documentary, what kind of person is the corporation?  What is a corporation legally obligated to place before the public interests?  What are externalities?   What is the relationship between corporations and authoritarian regimes, not only with notorious governments such as fascist Italy and nazi Germany, but with third world dictatorships.


Many social theorists posit that these developments are inherent in a capitalist system, whether its form is liberal or state capitalist. This view is reflected in the scholars associated with the Frankfurt School discussed in class, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and Franz Neumann. One view emphasized in class is that of Erich Fromm, who distinguished between negative and positive freedom, describing the causes of and nature of the “escape from freedom” that plagues liberal societies, manifesting itself in authoritarianism and fascism. Be sure to know Fromm’s argument.


What are the main points in our critique of the mass media system?  Who owns the major media?  What is the structure and function of the major media?  What are the filters discussed by Chomsky?  According to Chomsky, what sort of bias do media have, if any?  What combination of methods did Chomsky use in the East Timor case? What do the studies of media bias conducted by FAIR presented in lecture show?  Is the media becoming more democratic or more of a monopoly?


Noam Chomsky counter-poses two different conceptions of democracy. In one, what I will call “definition A,” democracy means the public participates in some meaningful way in the management of its own affairs and the means of information are open and free. In the other, what I will call “definition B,” democracy requires that the public be barred from managing of their own affairs, and the means of information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. The latter – definition B – is the prevailing view. 


The goal of the Creel Commission, set up during the progressive presidential administration of Woodrow Wilson, was to transform a pacifist population into a hysterical war mongering one in order to enter WWI.


Edward Bernays is famous for developing the concept the “engineering of consent.” Walter Lippmann also identified the concept, calling it “manufacturing consent.” In Walter Lippmann’s theory of a well-ordered progressive democracy, there are different classes of citizens: Private power, that is, those who own society; “the bewildered herd,” the majority of the population who are, for the most part, to play the role of spectators; and the specialized class, those who analyze and run political and economic systems.


In The New Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian describes the cartel of giant media conglomerates that now control the media on which a majority of Americans say they most rely. How many corporations constitute the new media monopoly?  Who are they? What is the fairness doctrine?


What is the basic structure of the power elite theory advanced by C. Wright Mills? How does it function and to what end? What did President Eisenhower warn Americans about in his farewell address to the nation? What did Thomas Dye find when he looked at the process of policy formation? Who is in the driver’s seat? What proportion of federal discretionary spending is consumed by the military? What is the global reach of the U.S. media? What are the three models of power presented during the last lecture from the first half of the semester? What is character of Sheldon Wolin’s theory of “inverted totalitarian”? What was the definition of power I used during that lecture?