the undergrad garth

welcome back to the undergrad garth — that wonderful little space where we sort through and dissect my undergrad notes in hopes of finding a few useful tidbits to save (and organize) for future reference!



neoliberalism is cool, i think. maybe.

a lot of my undergrad anthropology classes had a lot to say about neoliberalism, which made it all the more strange that i never felt like i had a real grasp on the concept.

some ideas just don't want to stay in your head, i guess.

looking at my notes now, i'm not sure why i had that reaction to it.


after all, these notes around and about the subject seem basic enough:

the neoliberal subject is self-managing, flexible, retaining, competitive, instrumental. a person who is trained to be an[y? my handwriting sucks and i seem to be missing letters] of these things; treating the self like a corporation.


"the continuity of the social structure, like that of an organic structure, is not destroyed by changes in the units. individuals may leave the society, by death or otherwise, others may enter it. the continuity of structure is maintained by the process of social life, which consists of the activities and interactions of the individual human beings and of the organised groups into which they are united. the social life of the community is here defined as the functioning of the social structure. the function of any recurrent activity, such as the punishment of a crime, or a funeral ceremony, is the part it plays in the social life as a whole an therefore the contribution it makes to the maintenance of the structural continuity (radcliffe-brown, a.r. 1952)."


shortly after that quote, my notes turn to ideology.

ideology (according to terry eagleton) is a process of production of means, signs, and values in social life characteristic of a social group or class that helps to legitimate the dominant political power by producing certain meanings while discouraging others.


fascinating stuff, right?

i can think of several examples that reinforce both of these ideas, but i guess that in itself sort of reinforces them.


my favorite note, though, from this set is this one about ideology:

ideology is a process where people are literally forged into bearers of culture.


anyone else suddenly imaging a stoic anthropologist standing on a cliff top, wind and ocean spray whipping about, shouting, "go forth, bearers of culture, and forge anew!"?

because, you know, anthropologists do stuff like that.

but only if everyone else is doing it, too.


basic disclaimer that i probably won't update for months:

you'll notice that a lot of my definitions and such are amalgamations since they're based off of old notes that i haven't read in years. when possible, necessary, or interesting, i'll try to link through to official definitions or sources. in these cases, wikipedia might actually be our friend...

these notes were taken sometime between 2005-2009. how accurate they still are i can't really say.

also, my handwriting is ridiculously annoying to read: f.y.i.