Collective consciousness, social cohesion, social inclusion and social exclusion
January 13, 2008
For awhile he accepted what his newly adopted country offered him as work: he joined the ranks of over-qualified African-Canadian security guards. While living through the horrors of everyday violence in his home country, he was able to sleep at night because his family and friends provided an almost impermeable sense of social cohesion. Alone in Canada, working at a job that offered no future, exiting the role of professional health care worker, his sense of self, of his identity was profoundly shaken. Then the nightmares began. Why is it that trauma as mental illnesses is integral to a western medical system yet depression, PTSD are not a prominent part of the medical profession in Africa where people are faced with struggle for the most basic human needs, such as freedom from violence, minimal nutrition and even water?
As he follows the violent eruptions in Kenya his first concern is finding a way to secure safety for his life partner. He feels that if she were here beside him in Canada that the two of them together could survive.
Meanwhile he has found another job. It seems ironic yet fitting that he works with the most at-risk Canadian populations, the urban homeless. He is learning rapidly that most of those living on the streets are mentally ill. Of this group how many are First Nations and Inuit? How many are women? These are the groups who are most vulnerable to social exclusion and who will not find the health care they need in the public system but who will never be able to access a private system.
As I read about the public/private health care debates I cannot help but think of those who are excluded. Even as a newly arrived immigrant, I want to believe that he will not be of those. I have met so many immigrants particularly from Africa who remain underemployed for their entire work lives in Canada. Will our desparate need for doctors faciliate the process for him and his partner? Perhaps even their perspective will transform in some small way, a system that has come to depend on market solutions for all social problems.
How would I present this topic as a part of a robust conversation where divergent voices could be heard including First Nations, Inuit and immigrant students to enhance their understanding of social history in Canada and comparative social histories (particularly with other OECD nations)? How can I share the relevance of Derrida’s urgent call for a need for philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view? What tools can I develop to enhance cross- and interdisciplinary readings without sacrificing legitimacy (academic capital) based on a system of closed disciplines?
tag cloud: Open Source, memory palace, memory work, sociological imagination, governance, Derrida, cosmopolitical, democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, economics, elite studies, vertical mosaic revisited, Jeffrey Sachs, Stephen Harper’s relation to the Calgary School, wealth disparities will intensify, vulnerability to social exclusion, human rights, judiciary, Canadian elite studies, academia,
Ccollective conscience as used in modern societies a way of describing how an entire community comes together to share similar values. French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1893). Other forms of collective consciousness through a sociological imagination include solidarity attitudes, memes and extreme behaviors like groupthink, herd behavior. Herd behaviour through a political science lens is explored as a weakness in governance as in mob rule. Through a spiritual imagination collective consciousness is discussed as an outcome of meditation and self-realization.
Timeline of social history related to changing interpretations of the concepts of social consciousness, social cohesion, social inclusion, social exclusion in process . . .
1789 Thomas Jefferson in correspondence to James Madison argued that majority rights cannot exist if individual rights do not (Jefferson 1989).
1893 French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) published his first book The Division of Labor in Society in which he “argued that religion plays an important role in uniting members of segmentary (i.e., clan-based) societies through the creation of a common conscience or consciousness (conscience collective). The contents of each individual’s consciousness largely coincide with those of others, and such a society is therefore integrated by mechanical solidarity, or the mutual likeness of its members. As societies become more differentiated and individuated, the division of labor increasingly requires a new morality of specialized service. Organic solidarity, based on a “categorical imperative” of specialized, yet mutually supportive social performances, displaces the need for a collective consciousness (Swatos nd ).” (1893), and his third one, Suicide (1897), contain significant and mutually congruent analyses of religion in the context of a focus on other sociological problemsand guiding figure in the influential French or “Durkheim school” of sociology. Born to Jewish parents in Epinal, in the Eastern part of France, his father was a prominent rabbi in the region, while his grandfather and great-grandfather had been rabbis before him. As a youth, Durkheim himself was apparently destined for the rabbinate but instead entered on a course of secular education. At the École Normale Superieure in Paris, he concentrated on philosophy but also explored a wider range of political and social issues. Among his eminent classmates were Henri Bergson, Jean Jaurès, and Pierre Janet. After a year of study in Germany (1885-1886), Durkheim secured a position at Bordeaux in 1887. There he taught pedagogy and social sciences until 1902, when he was called to a professorship of education (later changed to include sociology) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he remained until his death in 1917. Although he had already emerged to prominence at Bordeaux, Durkheim became a leading figure in French intellectual life during his years in Paris, and his work exercised a strong influence in official educational circles as well as the social sciences (Swatos nd).”1895 French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) published The Rules of Sociological Method which presents “Durkheim’s distinctive sociological approach, with its emphasis on the reality of society (versus the individual level), the need to study social facts as things (choses) , and the comparative, analytical method (Swatos nd ).”
1989 Sanford Levinson published Constitutional Faith in which he argued (1989:60) Note that the US Constitution states that unlike a pure democracy, in a constitutional republic, citizens in the US are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law (Levinson 1989 ).”Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who govern within limits of overarching constitutional law rather than the popular vote or government having power to deny any inalienable right. Moreover, the power of elected representatives is also checked by prohibitions against any single individual having legislative, judicial, and executive powers so that basic constitutional law is extremely difficult to change. John Adams defined a constitutional republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” (wiki)”
Webliography and Bibliography
to be continued . . .
CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “Collective consciousness, social cohesion, social inclusion and social exclusion” January 13, 2008.
CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “What is Being Done in the Name of Social Cohesion?” << Speechless. March 12, 2008.